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Prescription Painkiller Use At An All-Time High

07/08/13

  01:01:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 189 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Prescription Painkiller Use At An All-Time High

Opoid Usage Stats

A recent New York Times article highlights America’s growing use of narcotic painkillers in the past decade. Once prescribed primarily for short-term discomforts, OxyContin and other popular opiods now provide relief from such chronic conditions as back injuries, headaches and arthritis – though questions have arisen about the long-term effectiveness of such drugs.

The growing reliance on painkillers has led to an increase in usage beyond what is required for treatment. In addition to the risk of addiction, side effects can include psychological dependence, reduced drive, extreme lethargy and sleep apnea.

Deaths from opoid overdoses have also risen in the past decade, especially among females. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription pain pills were involved in 6,631 overdose deaths, intentional and unintentional, among women in 2010, a 415% increase from the 1,287 such deaths in 1999.

In spite of the known risks, narcotic painkillers are now the most widely prescribed class of medications in the United States. But depending on a patient’s overall health, many ailments for which opoids provide temporary comfort may realize more lasting relief through physical therapy.

(Thanks to John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog for the link.)

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