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Letters: Too much pain medication?

July 05, 2013

Re "CDC cites overuse of drugs for pain," July 3

As a gynecologist who has been treating women with pain for more than 40 years, I disagree with Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who categorically states that doctors prescribe narcotics too often and too soon for pain.

The vast majority of honest physicians take a careful history and deal with individual patients, prescribing only enough narcotics so they can function normally. Most patients do not have the time or resources to have a daily massage or undergo physical therapy; they have to work and deal with children and home life.

In an ideal world, no one would develop back, neck, pelvic or leg pain as a result of daily living. But that is not reality, and the limited use of opiates provides some people enough relief to live a normal life.

Michael L. Friedman, MD


I can personally attest to the fact that doctors prescribe painkillers too often and too early.

I was shocked when a doctor ordered 30 Percocet tablets for me after the removal of a uterine polyp, a procedure that turned out to cause practically no pain. When I asked him about this, he said it never hurts to have some pain medication around the house.

Had this doctor ever heard of "Nurse Jackie"?

Ellen Butterfield

Studio City

Great, yet another bureaucrat attacking the use of pain medications. I write this as I recover from minor surgery with a prescription for pain medication on my desk. I do not like taking the drugs; they have nasty side effects. Currently, icing and Tylenol are enough, but it's still good to have the prescription in case I need it.

Having previously taken medications after surgeries to make the pain manageable, I find it hard to believe that so many people enjoy being dizzy and constipated that they take these pills for recreation.

George E. Turski



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