LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) -New laws regarding opioids are scheduled to take effect November 1. State physicians will only be able to prescribe a week’s worth of opioid drugs to patients in pain and must limit the dosage to the lowest effective use.
It’s a part of Senate Bill 1446, which places limits on the number of opioid pills physicians can prescribe in an effort to prevent potential opioid abuse.
“I feel it’s a little restrictive of course, for us and for the patient," said Dr. Sameh Hanna, Comanche County Memorial Hospital.
Hanna said several patients at the hospital use opioid drugs. However, the new law will affect new patients.
Before prescribing opioids for longer than seven days the law will require a consultation between the patient and physician.
“After the seven days we have to reassess and reevaluate the patient and see if there’s a benefit of the opioid prescription of the last seven days," said Hanna.
He said if there is a benefit they can prescribe another seven days. After the initial 14 days, the physician must determine that the patient still needs opioids to manage pain and follow procedures to treat the chronic pain.
“For example, if we keep the patient for three months on opioids we have to routinely address and do history and exam them again every three months," said Hanna. "And document the reason why we are still prescribing opioids.”
Hanna said the law aims to increase communication between prescriber’s and patients. He added that patients needs will always be put first but also the risks associated with opioids.
“Be patient and we have to look at the whole context of why this bill was passed and I think it is a trial from the state to fight the epidemic of opioids," said Hanna.
Physicians will also be required to have one hour of continued education in pain management or in opioid abuse and addiction each year before renewing a license or continuing to practice.