Opioids not winning the battle against pain - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Opioids not winning the battle against pain

Updated: Sep 19, 2013 02:22 PM
© Jupiterimages / Comstock / Getty Images / Thinkstock © Jupiterimages / Comstock / Getty Images / Thinkstock
  • HealthMore>>

  • FDA to propose e-cigarette regulations

    FDA to propose e-cigarette regulations

    © FDA© FDA
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited regulations governing the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.More >>
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited regulations governing the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.More >>
  • People seek out health info when famous person dies

    People seek out health info when famous person dies

    WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The deaths of well-known people offer an opportunity to educate the general public about disease detection and prevention, a new study suggests. Researchers surveyed 1,400 American men and women after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 and learned that more than one-third of them sought information about his cause of death or information about cancer in general soon after his death was reported. About 7 percent of th...More >>
    WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The deaths of well-known people offer an opportunity to educate the general public about disease detection and prevention, a new study suggests. Researchers surveyed 1,400 American men and women after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 and learned that more than one-third of them sought information about his cause of death or information about cancer in general soon after his death was reported. About 7 percent of th...More >>
  • 1 in 13 U.S. schoolkids takes psych meds

    1 in 13 U.S. schoolkids takes psych meds

    More than 7 percent of American schoolchildren are taking at least one medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties, a new government report shows.More >>
    More than 7 percent of American schoolchildren are taking at least one medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties, a new government report shows.More >>

THURSDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Prescriptions for powerful opioid painkiller drugs have skyrocketed in the United States, but identification and treatment of pain has not improved, according to a new study.

"There is an epidemic of prescription opioid addiction and abuse in the United States. We felt it was important to examine whether or not this epidemic has coincided with improved identification and treatment of pain," Dr. G. Caleb Alexander, an associate professor of epidemiology and medicine and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, said in a Hopkins news release.

The researchers analyzed federal government data collected between 2000 and 2010, and found no significant change in the number of pain-related visits to doctors that resulted in patients receiving treatment with pain relievers.

During the study period, prescriptions of non-opioid painkillers remained stable, accounting for 26 percent to 29 percent of pain-related visits. However, prescriptions for opioids nearly doubled, from 11 percent to 19 percent, the investigators found.

Of the 164 million pain-related visits to doctors in 2010, about half of patients were treated with some kind of pain reliever: 20 percent with an opioid and 27 percent with a non-opioid, according to the study published online Sept. 13 in the journal Medical Care.

The researchers also examined visits to doctors for new-onset musculoskeletal pain and found similar increases in opioid prescriptions. There is no evidence that opioids are more effective or safer than non-opioids in treating this type of pain, however, the study authors found a significant drop in non-opioid prescriptions, from 38 percent in 2000 to 29 percent in 2010.

The findings highlight the importance of balancing the risks and benefits of pain drugs prescribed by primary care doctors, study lead author Matthew Daubresse pointed out.

"The majority of pain medications are prescribed by primary care physicians, who treat over half of the chronic pain in the United States," Daubresse said in the news release. "Pain specialists only treat a fraction of these patients."

And Alexander noted that "not only have the rates of treated pain not improved, but in many cases, use of safer alternatives to opioids, such as medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, have either stayed flat or declined. This suggests that efforts to improve the identification and treatment of pain have backfired, due to an overreliance on prescription opioids that have caused incredible morbidity and mortality among patients, young and old alike."

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers a guide to the safe use of pain medicines.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.