By wonker, via Flickr.

In his July 6 post on the proposed Vicodin, Percocet ban, AJN editor Jacob Molyneux wrote, “A number of clinicians and patients have expressed alarm at the potential loss of Vicodin and Percocet, both of which are mainstays of pain management in the U.S.” He cited pain expert Carol Curtiss’s concern that such a ban could have “even more drastic implications than most people yet understand,” then asked readers, “Should we worry?”

Some commenters think so:  nester writes

If suddenly the combos become unavailable and pain relief is that much harder to come by, every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a sprain is going to flock to the ER for the good stuff… not once, but daily until the pain is gone or they are refused treatment.  If you can’t go to just any doc to get narcotic pain relievers, the pain relief specialists will have lines out the door also.

And Abigail Nobel says, “Educate before banning these affordable, essential components of pain control. Why should everyone suffer for the carelessness of a few?”

But Judy Newberger says that although she initially agreed with the ban, an interview with an elderly patient who was given Percocet and was already taking acetaminophen changed her mind.

Labels were not read, discharge papers were not thoroughly reviewed. Did no one review what meds he was on before they sent him home? I now am FOR removing Rx and OTC combination pain and other combination meds with acetaminophen.

Thanks to all for your thoughts. There will undoubtedly be more to say, and as always, we invite you to say it here.

–Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

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