Doctor Refuses To Prescribe Narcotics to Fibromyalgia Patients

Amy Schaeffer

Dr. Mark Ibsen, a physician in Helena, Montana, recently sent out a letter to all patients that he would no longer be prescribing pain medications, including narcotics, to his patients, including those who suffer from a condition called Fibromyalgia, according to Emax Health. Fibromyalgia is a condition that is thought to arise from an auto-immune factor, although the cause is not clear. It most commonly affects young to middle aged women, although children and men can suffer from the disorder as well.

The disorder is characterized by all-over pain and soreness, particularly in joints and specific "point tenderness" areas like the trapezius muscles. The pain can be so bad it is debilitating, but historically not all physicians have even recognized Fibromyalgia as a true physical problem, telling many patients the cause was psychiatric. That stigma left patients scrambling to find a doctor who was willing to treat chronic pain conditions like Fibromyalgia, which usually includes long term use of prescription narcotic medication, which can be addictive and is regulated by the Federal government.

The controversial condition has been around for decades but most recently named within the last twenty years. Many do not even get relief with pain medications, according to a study previously published by the Inquisitr, but for those who do, doctors who were willing to prescribe them were hard to find.

However, accreditation agencies and the government are cracking down on the prescribing of narcotics, citing that too many patients were being exposed to addictive medication with no clear purpose. Dr. Ibsen is a physician who believes Fibromyalgia pain is very real, but because of recent litigation against other physicians who prescribe narcotics, has decided it is in his best interest legally to stop prescribing them.

His decision comes largely in the wake of the case of Dr. Chris Christensen, who also treated Fibromyalgia and chronic pain with narcotics. Dr. Christensen was recently indicted for prescribing pain medication and lost his medical license. According to NBC Montana, he was accused of negligent homicide after a patient death and charged with 400 felony offenses that involve illegal prescription drug distribution. Big Creek Family Medicine and Urgent Care, which was Dr. Christensen's practice, has been closed, Dr. Ibsen shares, and he himself has been investigated by the DEA. He believes he still may be under investigation.

This is a serious situation for people who are physically addicted to narcotics, according to The Montana Standard, as withdraw can be painful and medically dangerous. Some may need medical help during withdraw, but some may turn to getting medications illegally.

What are your thoughts on the difficulty those with chronic pain face when trying to obtain pain relief?

[Photo by Getty Images]