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Ann Pharmacother. 1992 Mar;26(3):321-6.

Availability of narcotics and pharmacists' attitudes toward narcotic prescriptions for cancer patients.

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  • 1College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine narcotic availability and pharmacist apprehension toward dispensing narcotics for cancer patients.

DESIGN:

Mailing of a one-page survey.

SETTING:

All pharmacies in the state of New Mexico.

PARTICIPANTS:

Of the 309 pharmacies, 76.1 percent (235) completed the survey.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

Apprehension was significantly elevated for methadone, hydromorphone, and for morphine doses greater than 500 mg/d (p less than 0.001). The most common reasons listed for apprehension were forgery (46.4 percent), theft (40.4 percent), high dosages (23.8 percent), narcotic investigations (18.7 percent), and patient addiction (9.4 percent). Hydromorphone was available (in stock) in 80.5 percent of the pharmacies, followed by morphine 30-mg sustained-release tablets (64.5 percent) and methadone (53.4 percent). The vast majority of pharmacists were willing to order strong narcotics for specific patients. Pharmacists working in chain stores expressed a higher level of apprehension toward dispensing methadone and more frequently cited forgery as a reason for apprehension. Distance from a metropolitan area and practice setting best predicted apprehension to forgery (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Pharmacists do not appear to be a major obstruction to adequate analgesia for cancer patients in New Mexico but may require further education regarding lack of narcotic addiction and dosing in patients with cancer.

PMID:
1554950
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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