“The Pain Medication Conundrum”

…is the title of this thoughtful NYT piece, which considers the difficult balance doctors must strike in helping patients manage debilitating pain while avoiding feeding addition. The quote sums it up well:

A 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine highlighted how poorly the medical field handles pain. Undertreating pain, we [doctors] are admonished, violates the basic ethical principles of medicine. On the other hand, we are lambasted for overprescribing pain medications, enabling addicts and creating an epidemic of overdose deaths.

Unlike some of the issues we cover on this blog, this is one in which there are consumer interests on both sides of the balance doctors must strike — a consumer interest in safety and another in effective medication.

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