OPIODS – Just Because It’s Rx Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin as well as the legal Schedule 1 prescription pain reliever’s like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others.

The drug-maker Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin two decades ago with a bold marketing claim: One dose relieves pain for 12 hours, more than twice as long as generic medications.

Purdue told doctors. one (1) OxyContin tablet in the morning and one before bed would provide “smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night.” On the strength of that promise, OxyContin became America’s bestselling painkiller, and Purdue reaped $31 billion in revenue. In reality, the drug wears off hours early in many people. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug.

According to the federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over the last 20 years, more than 7 million Americans have abused OxyContin. The drug is widely blamed for setting off the nation’s prescription opioid epidemic, which has claimed more than 190,000 lives from overdoses involving OxyContin and other painkillers since 1999.

Money grab by Purdue and other Rx suppliers for the sale of Opioids is appalling.  Thousands of lives have been lost and families destroyed because of over prescribing.  And in my humble opinion economics is the driving force.  We have lost our humanity to the love for money.

A new study published by Dr. Andrew Chang, professor of emergency medicine at Albany Medical Center in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), confirms what doctors and policymakers have been saying for some time: that opioids are overprescribed, and that for some types of pain, simple, non-opioid alternatives may work just as well.

Those test groups consisted of more than 400 people who came to two emergency rooms for arm or leg strains, sprains of fractures. They were randomly assigned to receive either non-opioid pain killers — a combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen (Tylenol) — or one of three variations of opioid-based pain killers. After two hours, the doctors asked the people to rate their pain on an 11-point scale and compared their responses.

The study results indicated no difference between pain ratings among those who were given non-opioid pain relievers and the opioid-based ones. That’s a revelation, especially given that studies have shown even short term use of opioids can lead to long term addiction, and that nearly 19% of people leave emergency rooms with an opioid prescription.

A new study from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy shows that medicinal cannabis has a significant impact on migraine headaches.

 

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