Opioids not winning the battle against pain - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

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>>

  • Spouse's sunny outlook may be good for your health

    Spouse's sunny outlook may be good for your health

    Marriage vows often include the promise to stick together for better or for worse, and research now suggests that when it comes to your health, having an optimistic spouse is better.More >>
    Marriage vows often include the promise to stick together for better or for worse, and research now suggests that when it comes to your health, having an optimistic spouse is better.More >>
  • Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...More >>
    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...More >>
  • A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

    A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

    An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.More >>
    An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.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.

  • National Health NewsGeneral Health NewsMore>>

  • Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...More >>
    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...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 >>
  • Adjusting your thermostat might improve your thinking

    Adjusting your thermostat might improve your thinking

    You think best when the air temperature is at a level that makes you feel the most comfortable, new research suggests.More >>
    You think best when the air temperature is at a level that makes you feel the most comfortable, new research suggests.More >>
*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
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.