Primary care physicians poor at spotting prescription abuse, study finds

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Primary care physicians may not be able to recognize signs of potential prescription drug misuse among their patients, new analysis of survey data shows, according to MedPage Today.

Researchers detailed their findings after analyzing a 2019 online Harris Poll survey of 500 U.S. primary care providers and the results of 545,527 prescription drug-monitoring tests performed by Quest Diagnostics in the U.S. They presented their findings at the American Academy of Pain Medicine annual meeting in National Harbor, Md., from Feb. 26 to March 1.

Researchers found that while nearly three-quarters of physicians trusted their patients to take drugs as prescribed, half of the drug-monitoring test specimens showed signs of misuse.

Also, most physicians said they were confident in their ability to discuss drug misuse with their patients, but just over 50 percent actually discussed it with their patients, and a third worried they might offend patients.

"Physicians are on the frontline of this crisis but may not be equipped to recognize prescription drug misuse," Jeffrey Gudin, MD, of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark and lead study author, told MedPage Today.

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