Narcotic patches provide needed relief from chronic cancer pain and certain other conditions. Because the drug is released over a long period, they also offer patient convenience since they alleviate the need for multiple oral narcotic doses throughout the day. It’s unforgiveable, though, for any narcotic pain patch to be dispensed without the doctor, office nurse and pharmacist each taking the time to assure that instructions for proper use have been well understood by the patient or his caregiver. By now my medical colleagues are well aware of these issues and they have computer systems to stop dangerous fentanyl patch prescriptions and remind staff about the need to educate. Still, that clearly isn’t happening!
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