Arizona has become the latest state to limit opioid prescriptions—a trend that has some healthcare providers and experts concerned.
In October, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an order that limits initial painkiller prescriptions to seven days “in all cases where the state is the payer.” The order also limits all fills for children, except for those with cancer, chronic disease, and traumatic injury.
“These large prescriptions of highly addictive substances are incredibly dangerous, and we have to take action now. By limiting the fills of prescriptions for all state health plans, we hope to encourage private companies to consider similar action,” Ducey said.
Arizona joined Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and New York in passing laws restricting painkiller prescriptions. However, some doctors have said the Arizona plan may be too restrictive and could interfere with physician-patient relationships, according to The Arizona Republic.
“These rules that ae being set by politicians are not taking into account the individual variability of patients,” Lynn Webster, an anesthesiologist and past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, told the newspaper.
In addition, some patients legitimately need opioids, said Dr. Mohab Ibrahim, a professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and director of a pain clinic. "For chronic users, it is very, very inconvenient to tell them they need to come to the clinic every week to get their prescription filled."