CWRU med school course targets overprescribing

CWRU med school course targets overprescribing
(Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A class now offered at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine is getting a lot of attention.

It's goal is basically to teach medical students when and how to say "No" to patients requesting addictive medications. These skills, which have never really been focused on or widely taught, have the potential to save lives as well as medical careers.

"When the patient is saying 'Oh, but doctor I need it, it's the only thing that helps me and you are the best doctor I've ever seen and I know you'll give it to me because you care so much,' it can be hard to maintain that boundary," said Dr. Ted Parren, who teaches the course.

The course focuses on three aspects of prescribing addictive pain medication:

1. Assessing the risk of prescribing, recognizing addictive personalities
    2. Knowing how to say "No" to a patient
    3. Knowing how to follow up with patients, when to wean them off

"I certainly see that will be a challenge for me," said Daniela Mahech, who just took the class.

Mahech said she's glad she did, particularly after witnessing the addiction crisis first handing during training.

"I’m sure (saying 'No') will be difficult the first time but, with practice I can learn," she said.

That's exactly the kind of message Parren is going for, the kind of message he hopes every medical school student will soon hear loud and clear.

Overprescribing is one of the four most common violations doctors get in trouble for. It was Parren's job for years to retrain doctors who got in trouble.

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