Opioids are bad medicine for chronic pain

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Opioids are bad medicine for chronic pain

The nation's top federal health agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged doctors to avoid prescribing opiate painkillers for patients with chronic pain owing to the risks from such painkillers far outweigh the benefits for most people.

Opioids are substances that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects such as OxyContin, Vicodin. Since 1999, painkillers are prescribed too much as 4% of the U.S. Population and around 1.9 million Americans are addicted to opiates. Moreover, 165,000 people died due to overdoses in time period of 1999 to 2014. Therefore, CDC new guidelines strongly discourage doctors from prescribing opiates.

Thomas Frieden, CDC Director said, “We know of no other drug prescribed so frequently that kills so many patients." "Almost all opioids on the market are just as addictive as heroin". As dozens of opioid prescription guidelines are released in JAMA journal, it will assist doctors about the dangers of prescribing opioid painkillers and improving treatment for patients. The guidelines issued will apply to chronic pain patients whose pain persists longer than three months, but not for cancer and hospice care patients, but addresses work injuries, car crashes or other causes of long-term pain.

The guidelines are organized according to the three main principles. First, opioids should be a last option for these patients, with aspirin-related drugs and exercise preferred. Second, when given, doses should start out low and go slow. Third, patients should be monitored and a plan for getting them off the drugs should start with their prescription. In addition to this, guidelines also call for getting naloxone, a drug used to counter the effects of opioid overdose, into the hands of more doctors, nurses, police, and emergency personnel.

Yngvild Olsen, Medical Director of the Institutes for Behavior Resources, Inc. in Baltimore wrote in an editorial accompanying the new guidelines,“Widespread adoption of the CDC’s recommendations in clinical practice would help reverse the epidemic of opioid overprescribing." It's true that in the short term pain, opiates may be more effective but in long-term pain, it worsens the conditions. In accordance to Frieden,“Pain is a very challenging condition to treat, and for many years it was not adequately addressed."

Patrice Harris of the American Medical Association conveyed to BuzzFeed News that her organization strongly supports these findings to control addiction of painkillers and 10 of the 12 guidelines, with some reservations about guidelines for specific dosages. “We are concerned about one-size-fits-all recommendations in medicine.”

Frieden included, “The key is turning around the way we treat pain in this country. We have to recognize that the best pain treatment is not what cuts the pain the most immediately, but what works best in the long term. Too many families have paid the price.”

BuzzFeed

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