Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Which docs overprescribe? Study reports "An Easy Method of Detection."

Which docs overprescribe? Study reports "An Easy Method of Detection."

Whoops, that was just wishful thinking.

I receive a few "alert" emails regarding psychology-related research as it gets published.

This headline, from "Journal Watch-Psychiatry," caught my eye:

"Who Overuses Headache Medications? "An Easy Method of Detection."

I thought the study might help me tell which docs over-prescribe. I thought there might be some brief questionnaire, with items such as:
"has the doc recently been visited by a drug rep?"
"Is the doc holding a pen advertising a new headache remedy?"
"Does the doc's staff look well-fed?"

No such luck.

The study actually reports a measure for determining whether a patient might be over-using headache meds. Well, I guess that is helpful.

If you are interested, the study is:
R B Grande, K Aaseth, J altyt Benth, P Gulbrandsen, M B Russell, C Lundqvist. The Severity of Dependence Scale detects people with medication overuse: the Akershus study of chronic headache. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 2009;80:784-789.

But what we really need is a measure to tell us what docs are over-prescribing. Wouldn't it be good if you, or your family member, was visiting a doc for some problem, and you wondered whether the meds pushed on you were actually useful and warranted, or just pushed because the doc is in some pmarma-sponsored program to win a vacation, and to answer the question, you had a validated questionnaire?

Maybe that will be published soon. Who knows.

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