Study Finds Prescription Painkiller Dangers Outweigh Benefits

Doctors’ Group Issues Warnings About Prescription Painkiller Dangers

prescription painkillersThe American Academy of Neurology released a statement on Monday, September 29th, that studies show prescription painkiller dangers outweigh the benefits when treating chronic pain problems like migraines, low back pain, and fibromyalgia.

Addiction, overdose, and death associated with prescription painkillers is on the rise in the US, reaching epidemic proportions recently. Now, studies associated with AAN’s statement suggest that strong narcotic prescription painkillers can help with pain in the short term, but there’s no proof that long-term use benefits patients with chronic pain diseases.

“More than 100,000 people have died from prescription opioid use since policies changed in the late 1990s to allow much more liberal long-term use,” Dr. Gary Franklin, of the University of Washington in Seattle, said in an academy news release.

“There have been more deaths from prescription opioids in the most vulnerable young to middle-aged groups than from firearms and car accidents,” he added. “Doctors, states, institutions and patients need to work together to stop this epidemic.”

The issue of the journal Neurology recommends that doctors refer patients to a pain management specialist if the patient’s daily dose of prescription painkillers reaches 80 milligrams to 120 milligrams, especially if there is little to no improvement in daily function and pain management with the increase in dose. The journal also recommends screening for depression and past or present drug abuse, and using random urine drug screenings.

“More research and information regarding opioid effectiveness and management is needed, along with changes in state and federal laws and policy to ensure that patients are safer when prescribed these drugs,” Franklin said.

Meanwhile, after months of debate, the DEA will officially reclassify hydrocodone combination drugs like Vicodin, and put them in Schedule II substances, a group considered extremely addictive and dangerous. Hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller, much like oxycodone and related prescription painkillers. However, hydrocodone, which is the active ingredient in popular prescription painkillers like Vicodin, has previously been classified as Schedule III, which allows doctors to prescribe the medication without numerous followup visits to re-prescribe. This allows patients with serious chronic pain problems to have better access to a painkiller that will work.

“Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents. Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

Around 22 million Americans have misused prescription painkillers since 2002.

The Strom Law Firm Protects Against Prescription Painkiller Abuse Charges

Being arrested for prescription painkiller abuse is something that can be devastating financially and emotionally, and can have long-lasting personal and professional consequences. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to help. We will investigate your case from every angle, determine whether an illegal search took place and seek to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so call us today at 803.252.4800.

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