Can a Doctor Be Liable for Prescribing a Highly Addictive Drug?

Some drugs carry a risk of dependence. These drugs may still be the best course of action for treating your condition. In some situations, you may wonder if you become addicted to the drug if the doctor is liable for that. There are various situations in which you could hold the medical provider accountable, but others where you cannot. There are several factors to keep in mind in this process. Call a Portland medication prescription error lawyer at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC.

Warning You About the Risks

When a medical provider determines which medication to give you, they must inform you of all of the risks associated with it. You may receive printed documents that provide an explanation as well. Your pharmacist is likely to discuss those risks with you, too.

If you are taking a medication known for being addictive, your doctor should have discussed this with you. If they failed to do so, or you do not remember them doing so, that could be a concerning factor.

Doctors should also discuss the shortest period of time for using the medication and the least amount of the substance possible to create results. This may help to reduce the risk of addiction-forming in some people.

Checking Your Medical History

Some drugs, such as opioids, carry a very high risk of addiction, and in these situations, doctors are required to do their due diligence in looking for any signs of addiction or risks to you. To do that, they must consider:

  • Your medical condition: Is this the only option for treating your condition? If not, what other non-addictive measures can be taken first?
  • Your psychiatric condition: The provider must also consider the psychiatric health of the patient, including any evidence that may show there is a risk to using the drug
  • Patient family history: Because addiction predisposition can be passed down through generations, it is critical to understand if there is any family history of addictive disorders.

The doctor should not prescribe a drug to you that puts you at a very high risk for addiction based on these factors. Of course, there is no way for the doctor to know if addiction will occur, so they must weigh the potential benefit from the use of the drug with the risk of addiction.

Many times, doctors deny patients pain medications when they are concerned about addiction. That can be devastating in situations where you need it. Yet, if a doctor does not offer alternatives and there may be other ways to resolve your health complication, they could be liable for the onset of your injury, and that could include the development of addiction.

Many factors contribute to whether or not medical malpractice occurs. This includes the doctor’s experience and training, the steps they took leading up to the prescription of the medication, and any indications that they should have had that should warrant stopping the medication’s continued use. Routine follow-ups can also be a very helpful tool in reducing the risk of addiction.

If you or a loved one suffered adverse effects from the negligent prescription of an addictive drug, speak to an experienced Portland medical malpractice attorney with Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC.