How Should a Physician Respond to a Patient's Pain When New Opioid Prescribing Laws Limit Shared Decision Making?

AMA J Ethics. 2019 Oct 1;21(10):E838-843. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2019.838.


This commentary responds to a case and examines pragmatic concerns about operating a busy outpatient practice in compliance with new laws that regulate opioid prescribing. Specifically, the article considers how regulating opioid prescribing can influence the therapeutic alliance in patient-physician relationships and how innovations in decision science can facilitate shared decision making given time constraints.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Decision Making, Shared*
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug / ethics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Management / ethics
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Physician-Patient Relations / ethics*
  • Therapeutic Alliance


  • Analgesics, Opioid