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U.S. News & World Report (via HealthDay) features new research by Joanna Starrels, M.D., M.S., that found patients on painkillers, such as oxycodone, are frequently not closely monitored by the primary care doctors who prescribed the drugs. The study found that only 24 percent of those patients considered high-risk for drug abuse underwent drug testing and were more likely to get frequent refills than patients without a history of drug abuse. Dr. Starrels says the finding that doctors did not increase precautions for patients at highest risk for opioid misuse should bring attention to an important safety concern and be a call for a standardized approach to monitoring. Dr. Starrels is an assistant professor of medicine. (Thursday, March 10, 2011)

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