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Potential for misuse & diversion of opioids to addicts should not overshadow their therapeutic value

March 24, 2016

New Rochelle, NY, March 24, 2016--Opioids are very effective for treating some types of pain, such as cancer pain and postoperative pain, but not for other kinds of pain like chronic low back pain. An increase in the number of opioid-related deaths among addicts has led to the current movement to restrict opioid prescribing by state and federal authorities. While a laudable goal, these restrictions threaten to block their use for safe and effective pain relief when medically indicated. A new Editorial, "The Pendulum Swings for Opioid Prescribing", calls for physicians to speak out as a voice of reason in their communities, and is published in Journal of Palliative Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers . The article is available to download free on the Journal of Palliative Medicine website until April 23, 2016.

In the Editorial, Charles F. von Gunten, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Palliative Medicine and Vice President, Medical Affairs, Hospice and Palliative Medicine for the OhioHealth system, describes the shifting attitudes toward opioid prescribing he has witnessed during his nearly 30 years as a physician. Although the number of deaths from opioid addiction is rising, it is incorrect to draw the conclusion that the appropriate prescribing of opioids causes addiction in otherwise normal individuals, states Dr. von Gunten. He emphasizes the need for proper assessment of pain and, when indicated, appropriate prescribing and access to opioid drugs.

"There needs to be balance. At the same time we assure there isn't an excess supply of prescription opioids in medicine cabinets to be diverted by others, we must assure an adequate dose and supply for patients whose quality of life and function is improved," says Dr. von Gunten.

Journal of Palliative Medicine is the official journal of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and an official journal of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.
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About the Journal

Journal of Palliative Medicine, published monthly in print and online, is an interdisciplinary journal that reports on the clinical, educational, legal, and ethical aspects of care for seriously ill and dying patients. The Journal includes coverage of the latest developments in drug and non-drug treatments for patients with life-threatening diseases including cancer, AIDS, cardiac disease, pulmonary, neurological, and respiratory conditions, and other diseases. The Journal reports on the development of palliative care programs around the United States and the world and on innovations in palliative care education. Tables of content and a sample issue can be viewed on the Journal of Palliative Medicine website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Population Health Management, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, and Briefings in Palliative, Hospice, and Pain Medicine & Management, a weekly e-News Alert. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, newsmagazines, and books is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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