Thomas Kline, MD, PhD, refers to 22 of his patients as “pain refugees.”
Stable for years taking opioid therapy for chronic pain, these patients sought out Kline—well-known for his advocacy on their behalf on Twitter and elsewhere—because their physicians had abruptly cut their dose or refused to refill a prescription.
They had appealed to multiple physicians for treatment with no success before contacting him, said Kline, a Raleigh, North Carolina, physician who practices internal and geriatric medicine. “They give me lists of the doctors, which I would like to make public someday,” he said. “They’re in this horrible withdrawal, plus pain.”