One of the first things I learned in my health care career is that pain is an inherently subjective experience. Different people experience different levels of pain in different situations, and everyone has their own idiosyncratic problem areas — one can’t bear dental pain while another finds back injuries unbearable. Because of this fact, backed up by neurological research, I was taught that we cannot take a cookie-cutter approach to pain management and that each patient deserves individual attention and an individual pain management plan, which is as important an aspect of the overall plan of care as any other therapy.
Our betters in the Food and Drug Administration know better. They know what my teachers and peers did not, and are prepared to implement a nationwide cookie-cutter pain management plan for every single one of three hundred million Americans. In their infinite wisdom, they have decided to make hydrocodone/acetaminophen combinations — the most well-known of which is Vicodin — harder to come by and to require patients to see their doctors — and pay for an office visit, of course — every time they need a refill of these fairly mild drugs…MORE