The West Virginia Board of Medicine also reprimanded him in 2005 for advising patients to cut time-release medications in half with a pill cutter. In a related consent order, the board required that Derakhshan not examine or treat more than 25 patients in one day and that he take courses in controlled substance management and recordkeeping.
Derakhshan said Monday he frequently prescribes hydrocodone for severe leg pain in diabetes patients. Derakhshan treats patients who are referred to him, he said.
"Many people in this state are obese and have diabetes," he said. "Diabetes is a neurological illness with some nonneurological symptoms."
About half of Derakhshan's Medicare Part D patients have diabetes, he said.
"This state has the highest rate of obesity, and diabetes [has] a direct relation to a person's weight," he said.
Derakhshan also prescribes hydrocodone for migraines, which he said is one of the top illnesses people see a doctor for.
"Hydrocodone is commonly prescribed to get rid of a headache," he said. "[Migraines] are not a benign condition. They're commonly associated with stroke or seizure. [Patients with migraines often] end up having a stroke or a seizure because seizure and migraine, in my opinion as an informed neurologist, are the two sides of the same coin."
Derakhshan said that while he follows DEA guidelines, it's difficult for physicians to know whether patients are abusing or selling medications.
He requires patients to sign a contract stating they will use them as prescribed and not sell them, he said. He dismisses patients he hears are abusing or selling the drugs, he said.
Derakhshan has previously been featured in the Gazette for his theory that one side of the brain is dominant. This idea differs from the accepted theory that one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body.
An April story in the Gazette featured his theory about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' brain surgery and the role that being left-handed or right-handed played in her recovery.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.