posted Sep 22, 2013, 6:32 PM by Victor
updated Oct 11, 2013, 7:43 AM
The authors of a new study from Johns Hopkins report that prescriptions for opioid medications have skyrocketed in the last decade, while pain identification and management has largely stayed the same. Opioid addiction and overdose are also on the rise. The results of this study come at an interesting time, as the FDA just recently announced
more stringent labeling for extended-release opioid medications, urging that prescriptions for these medications be restricted to management of only the most extreme cases of round-the-clock chronic pain. Many have viewed this move by the FDA as an attempt at addressing the opioid addiction problem in the USA. However, what effect this will have remains to be seen, and some are not so convinced that it will have any effect at all.
As Opioid Use Soars, No Evidence of Improved Treatment of Pain
September 16, 2013
A new study led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
Health finds that during a decade when prescription opioid use has
skyrocketed, the identification and treatment of pain has failed to
improve, and the use of non-opioid analgesics has plateaued, or even
declined. The study was published online September 13 in the journal Medical Care.
is an epidemic of prescription opioid addiction and abuse in the United
States,” notes G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, associate professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for
Drug Safety and Effectiveness. “We felt it was important to examine
whether or not this epidemic has coincided with improved identification
and treatment of pain.”
Alexander and his fellow researchers used
the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, designed by the
CDC/National Center for Health Statistics, to analyze trends from 2000
to 2010 associated with patients seeking medical treatment for
non-cancer pain. They found no significant change in the proportion of
pain visits – approximately one-half - treated with pain relievers.
this time, non-opioid (analgesic) prescriptions remained stable,
consisting of 26-29 percent of pain visits. However, opioid
(morphine-related) prescriptions nearly doubled, from 11 percent in 2000
to 19 percent in 2010. Of approximately 164 million pain visits in
2010, roughly half were treated with some kind of pain relieving drug:
20 percent with an opioid and 27 percent with a non-opioid pain
Continue reading at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health...