Too little does no good and too much can do great harm.
That’s what can happen when doctors under-prescribe or over-prescribe painkillers.
In the first instance, the patient still suffers from chronic pain, and in the second, the patient can end up addicted, said Arizona Medical Board spokesman Roger Downey.
To help balance those issues and get public input, the medical board is holding a forum Thursday in Scottsdale about proposed guidelines that encourage the use of stronger pain medications when appropriate.
The board’s older guidelines may have given doctors the impression they should only use stronger painkillers as a last resort for chronic pain, said Dr. Carol Peairs, a Phoenix-based anesthesiologist.
At the forum, the 12-member board will answer questions and seek input from the health care community.
The controversy over pain management and overprescribing in recent years has led some to underprescribe or seek reform in pain management guidelines, Downey said.
The issue came to the forefront in 2001 when the Food and Drug Administration strengthened their warnings about OxyContin, a narcotic painkiller similar to morphine.
However, only a “very few” number of physicians overprescribe painkillers, he said.
Of the just over 115 documented disciplinary actions the board took against physicians in the last 35 days, 13 were for improperly or incorrectly prescribing medication, according to the board.
What: Public forum about proposed pain management guidelines
Where: 9535 E. Doubletree Ranch Road
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday
Information: Visit www.azmd.gov and click on “Revised Draft of Pain Guidelines Available”