A new study found that about one-third of Medicare patients who get prescriptions (Rx) for painkillers receive them from multiple doctors, which raises their risk for hospitalization, HealthDay Reports.
Prescriptions for painkillers have risen sharply in the United States over the past 20 years – as have overdoses from the powerful Rx pain medications. These prescribed opiates include painkillers such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin) and morphine.
As part of the new study, researchers analyzed data from 1.8 million seniors enrolled in Medicare’s prescription benefit (Part D) who filled at least one prescription for an opiate in 2010. Medicare is the federal taxpayer-supported insurance program for elderly in the U.S. Researchers noted they were surprised to find that 30 percent of elderly patients were prescribed narcotic painkillers by more than one doctor.