New research reported this week in JAMA Internal Medicine indicates that almost half of primary care clinicians surveyed say they are less likely to prescribe opioids to treat pain than they were one year ago. 9 in 10 of the surveyed physicians additionally characterize prescription drug abuse as a moderate or large problem in their communities. But 88% also expressed confidence in their own ability to prescribe opioids appropriately.
Prior studies have shown that most doctors believe their colleagues’ prescribing decisions are swayed by pharmaceutical marketing and promotion, yet they themselves are immune to such effects. The lead author on the study expressed hope that more physicians and patients will engage more non-opioid treatments for pain, such as other types of pain relievers and non-drug treatments including physical therapy, massage and acupuncture. Read a news story about the findings here.