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Poorest Americans most likely to have used prescription opioids
Among older Americans, the poorest are the most likely to have used prescription opioids, according to a University at Buffalo study providing new insights into unexplored contours of the opioid crisis. The study also raises important questions about access to pain management options for the disadvantaged in the current climate of the opioid epidemic. (2018-09-12)

Oxycodone use shifts in Australia after tamper-resistant versions introduced
After the introduction of tamper-resistant oxycodone in Australia, dispensing rates for higher-strength formulations decreased for people younger than 65 years, but there was no change in older adults, according to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). (2018-03-26)

Study: Patients only use about half of Opioids prescribed after hysterectomy
Doctors may be prescribing nearly twice the number of opioids than what the average patient needs after a hysterectomy, a new study suggests. (2017-12-04)

Some drug addicts more likely to relapse than others: Study
Opioids are highly addicting and liable for abuse. Methadone maintenance treatment is the most common intervention for those with drug addiction, but relapse is common, with 46 percent of patients continuing to use illicit opioids during or after the methadone treatment. (2016-04-13)

Research calls for new measures to treat mental illness and opioid use
Opioid use among psychiatric hospital patients needs to be addressed through an integrated approach to managing mental illness, pain and substance use, a study by researchers at the University of Waterloo has found. (2019-12-13)

Opioids, narcotic analgesics effective in treating post-herpetic neuralgia
Opioids -- narcotic analgesics -- have recently been shown to be effective in treating post-herpetic neuralgia. Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a painful chronic condition that can develop following a case of shingles, especially in older patients or those with immunodeficiencies. PHN is characterized by ongoing pain with varying degrees of skin hypersensitivity. (2002-10-07)

Pain relief only 1 motive for opioid use among high school seniors
Taking opioid drugs without a prescription appears relatively common among high school seniors, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The most common reasons survey respondents gave for taking the medications included relaxation, feeling good or getting high, experimentation and pain relief. (2009-08-03)

Combining opioids with anti-anxiety medicines linked to greater risk of overdose
Taking opioids (strong prescription painkillers) together with benzodiazepines (widely used to treat anxiety and sleep problems) is associated with greater risk of opioid overdose, finds a study in The BMJ today. (2017-03-14)

Research finds new ways to fight the opioid crisis
In the US alone, more than 2 million people struggle with opioid use disorders. Opioids, often prescribed as pain medications, have now become the country's leading cause of drug overdose. But scientists are identifying ways to help combat the epidemic, which include getting people treatment faster, developing safer opioids, and helping patients choose appropriate treatment. A number of recent breakthroughs are being presented at the upcoming conference of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. (2017-12-06)

Few patients maximize opioid-sparing medications after orthopaedic surgery, study finds
A new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers adds to growing evidence that patients underuse nonopioid pain relievers to supplement opioid pain management after spine and joint surgery. (2018-04-30)

An emergency response to Canada's opioid overdose crisis
To help address the opioid overdose epidemic, Canada should develop a regulated program to distribute opioids and prevent deaths, argues a commentary in CMAJ. (2018-01-15)

Mayo Clinic study: 20% of patients are prescribed opioids after cardiac device implantation surgery
One in five patients is prescribed opioids after having a pacemaker or similar device implanted, according to a large US study conducted at Mayo Clinic published in HeartRhythm. Eighty percent of patients who were prescribed opioids had never taken them before. Investigators stress the importance of improving postoperative pain management following cardiac device procedures to reduce use of prescription opioids. (2019-10-21)

Low self-esteem connected to greater risk for opioid use
Health, family and romance problems appear to be the particular life stressors most associated with increased risk for using opioids to cope, and individuals with low self-esteem appear to be at risk for these connections, according to a new paper including researchers at Binghamton University, State University at New York. (2018-10-03)

NIH study suggests opioid use linked to pregnancy loss, lower chance of conception
Opioid use among women trying to conceive may be associated with a lower chance of pregnancy, suggests a National Institutes of Health study. Moreover, opioid use in early pregnancy may be associated with a greater chance of pregnancy loss. (2020-08-18)

Boosting natural brain opioids may be a better way to treat anxiety: Research
Boosting natural brain opioids may be a better way to treat disabling emotions, says new research revealing their role in regulating critical brain circuits affecting fear and anxiety. (2017-03-22)

Vaccine could help address the opioid epidemic
Synthetic psychoactive drugs have become a serious public health threat in recent years. This is particularly true of the fentanyls, a large family of synthetic opioids, which can be up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Synthetic opioids are highly addictive and, because of their potency, often prove fatal: among the roughly 72,000 drug overdose deaths in the US in 2017, some 30,000 were related to synthetic opioids. (2018-12-13)

Prescription opioids involved in most overdoses seen in emergency departments
In a national study of hospital emergency department visits for opioid overdoses, 67.8 percent of the overdoses involved prescription opioids (including methadone), followed by heroin, other unspecified opioids and multiple opioids, according to a research letter published online by JAMA Internal Medicine. (2014-10-27)

Perspective: Why opioids cannot fix chronic pain
New epidemiological and neuroscientific evidence suggests that the relationship between chronic pain and emotional distress is bidirectional. Pain experts at University of Washington School of Medicine explain the relation in Annals of Family Medicine. (2020-12-22)

Quantity of opioids prescribed after surgery associated with higher patient use
Changing how opioids are prescribed after surgery requires understanding the factors associated with patients' use of the pain-relieving medications. This study describes opioid prescribing and use after surgery among almost 2,400 patients in Michigan who underwent one of 12 surgical procedures in 2017. Overall, more opioids were prescribed than used, with patients using about 27 percent of the opioids prescribed. (2018-11-07)

Depressed patients more likely to be prescribed opioids
A new study shows that patients with low back pain who were depressed were more likely to be prescribed opioids and receive higher doses. Understanding these prescribing patterns sheds new light on the current opioid epidemic and may help determine whether efforts to control prescription opioid abuse are effective. (2017-06-20)

Study examines opioid use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
A new analysis indicates that the use of opioid pain medications in older US rheumatoid arthritis patients peaked in 2010 and is now declining slightly. (2017-06-21)

Adults who mix cannabis with opioids for pain report higher anxiety, depression
Not a good mix: A researcher from the University of Houston has found that adults who combine prescription opioids for severe pain and cannabis report elevated anxiety and depression symptoms, with no increased pain reduction. (2019-08-12)

US opioid use not declined, despite focus on abuse and awareness of risk
Use of prescription opioids in the United States has not substantially declined over the last decade, despite increased attention to opioid abuse and awareness of their risks, finds a study published by The BMJ today. (2018-08-01)

One-third of children having tonsillectomies benefitted from opioid-free surgery and recovery
Nearly one-third of children who had surgery to remove their tonsils did not need opioids to get adequate pain relief during and after surgery, according to a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2019 annual meeting. (2019-10-20)

Long-term use of opioid patches common among persons with Alzheimer's disease
Approximately seven per cent of persons with Alzheimer's disease use strong pain medicines, opioids, for non-cancer pain for a period longer than six months, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. One-third of people initiating opioid use became long-term users, and long-term use was heavily associated with transdermal opioid patches. The results were published in PAIN. (2016-11-14)

Opioid use may affect treatment for alcohol dependence
New research indicates that opioid misuse and the use of cannabis and other drugs may compromise the effectiveness of treatments for alcohol use disorder. (2018-06-06)

Survey of primary care physicians' beliefs on prescription drug abuse
A survey of primary care physicians found the vast majority of practicing internists, family physicians and general practitioners consider prescription drug abuse to be a significant problem in their community and most physicians agreed opioids were overused to treat pain, according to a research letter published online by JAMA Internal Medicine. (2014-12-08)

One in 10 older dental patients inappropriately prescribed opioids
A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh suggests that a significant proportion of older patients receiving opioids at dental visits also use psychotropic medications -- a potentially harmful combination. Their findings are published in the journal Pharmacotherapy. (2020-09-16)

CU Anschutz researchers find new risk posed by opioid pain medication
Patients with no recent history of taking opioid pain medication had a 25 percent higher risk of chronically using the drugs if they received them when discharged from the hospital, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. (2015-11-17)

Parents: Turkey makes great leftovers -- opioids do not
Leftover prescription opioids pose big risks to kids, yet most parents keep their own and their child's unused painkillers even after they're no longer medically necessary for pain. (2019-12-23)

US painkiller restriction linked to 'significant' increase in illicit online drug trading
The US Drug Enforcement Administration's decision to restrict prescription drugs containing hydrocodone (a popular opioid painkiller) was associated with a 'significant' increase in illicit trading of opioids through online markets, finds a study published by The BMJ today. (2018-06-13)

Many back pain patients get limited relief from opioids and worry about taking them
Millions of people take opioids for chronic back pain, but many of them get limited relief while experiencing side effects and worrying about the stigma associated with taking them, suggests research presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2016 annual meeting. (2016-10-23)

Concerns over prescribed opioid use among pregnant women
The increase in use of prescribed opioids among women during pregnancy has probably contributed to the rise in neonatal abstinence syndrome, argues Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, in The BMJ today. (2016-01-12)

Opioid-exposed newborns may react to pain differently after birth
Babies exposed to opioids while their mothers were pregnant with them may need special care even before they start to experience withdrawal symptoms, according to Penn State research. (2019-05-15)

Researchers studying improving physician opioid prescribing
Boston University School of Medicine researcher Dr. Jeffrey Samet and Dr. Carlos Del Rio from Emory University were recently awarded a five year, $5 million grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse for their project titled: Improving Physician Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain in HIV-infected Persons. (2014-09-16)

Opioids, NSAIDs no different overall for persistent pain after vehicle crashes
A new study finds that on average, the risk of chronic pain after a car accident was no greater among people given NSAIDs than among people given opioids, but those with opioids were more likely to remain on medication longer. (2016-11-21)

Legally prescribed opioid use may increase mortality in chronic pain patients
Associations between opioid-related overdoses and increased prescription of opioids for chronic noncancer pain are well known. But some suggest that overdose occurs predominately in individuals who obtain opioids from nonmedical sources. In a new study published in PAIN, researchers in Denmark found an increased risk of death associated with chronic pain without opioid treatment, as well as an even higher risk among those prescribed opioids for long-term use and a somewhat lower risk associated with short-term use. (2014-11-13)

Painkiller prescribing varies dramatically among family physicians: study
Some physicians are prescribing opioids such as OxyContin 55 times as often as others, according to a new study led by St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. The study found most opioid-related deaths occur among patients treated by physicians who frequently prescribe opioids, suggesting doctors who prescribe a lot of opioids may not be doing so safely. (2011-03-14)

Daily cannabis use lowers odds of using illicit opioids among people who have chronic pain
For those using illicit opioids to manage their chronic pain, cannabis may be a beneficial -- and a less dangerous -- alternative, according to new research from the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU). (2019-11-19)

Evidence-based approach to treating post-delivery pain in new moms during opioid crisis
Women who undergo vaginal delivery often do not require opioids to manage pain after hospital discharge, concludes a study published in Anesthesiology, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). In addition, the quantity of opioids prescribed to women after cesarean delivery can be less than currently prescribed. (2017-11-14)

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