By: Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. West Palm Beach, South Florida (JusticeNewsFlash.com – News Report) — (See Part 1 here) The trend is the prescribing of hydrocodone, oxycodone, alprazolam and soma to treat pain. It begins innocent enough with a prescription of 30 pills of hydrocodone for pain. This medication is typically prescribed one to two tablets, every four to six hours as needed for pain. The injured party takes one pill every six hours. The most conservative dosing equates to four pills a day. With a prescription of thirty pills this equates to seven days worth of pain management. Typically, one pill usually doesn’t even touch the pain. The directions state the patient can have two every four hours. The injured person increases to the prescribed amount of two pills at a time and the experience of initial relief finally occurs. Thank goodness the medication is working! The four hour mark hits and the pain is coming back. This is where the fear sets in, “Oh my gosh the pain is going to be like it was a few hours ago. TAKE ANOTHER TWO NOW!” This is perfectly reasonable and appropriate. The prescription states to take two pills every four hours as needed for pain. “The doctor said so…” Having suffered pain, I have been here myself. I think most of us have at one time or another.
Three days pass. The prescription is gone. The pain is coming back…back to the doctor. More medications are prescribed along with a referral to pain management. A typical side effect of narcotic pain medication is insomnia. A definite side effect of insomnia is the anxiety of not being able to sleep. I don’t need to quote any studies or statistics on this phenomena. A night of no sleep with an entire days work ahead of me…that will drive anyone nuts! Add to it the fear of the pain returning equals prescriptions for lack of sleep and anxiety. Meanwhile, this person is still trying to function at home and at work. The pain medication is working for the pain, the anxiety med is working for the anxiety and the sleeping pill is working for the sleeping. The person taking all these medications is now trying to function in society and is wondering why they are having such difficulty. The pain medication dosages are slowly increased due to lack of efficacy.
Twelve to twenty-four months later the prescription is Oxycodone 150 to 180 pills every 30 days, alprazolam 30 to 90 pills every 30 days and soma 30 to 60 pills every 30 days.
320 pills every 30 days for pain management from a minor “fender bender”.
The above “fictional scenario” may seem like an isolated incident or an over zealous Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with a gift for the dramatic. In my experience this happens quite often.
How much is too much??? I don’t know. I am only a simple person who can count and see. I see people in pain, taking medication, unable to stop, dying from overdoses and physicians being arrested.
320 pills…It was just a minor fender bender.
By: Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and staff writers for Justice News Flash. To learn about her please visit her web profile
Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with 15 years of experience in the health care industry. Her expertise in reviewing medical records and assisting lawyers with the determination as to whether legal action should be taken provides an invaluable asset to the newsroom. Medical-malpractice, products liability, personal injury and workers’ compensation are some of the recent areas of litigation Ms. Ryan has focused her efforts on. A member of the Florida Justice Association, Heather maintains a long list of certifications and credentials to support her areas of expertise and stays up-to-date with her clinical knowledge working as an emergency room/trauma nurse, at a Level 1, Adult/Pediatric trauma and teaching institution in South Florida.