Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Doctors lax in monitoring potentially addicting drugs

Source: The National Institute on Drug Abuse, ...

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Doctors lax in monitoring potentially addicting drugs
Study: Missed opportunity to reduce opioid-related abuse, addiction and overdose

From a March 3 2011 Eureka news alert

March 3, 2011 — (BRONX, NY) — Few primary care physicians pay adequate attention to patients taking prescription opioid drugs — despite the potential for abuse, addiction and overdose, according to a new study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

The study, published in the March 2 online edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine,*** found lax monitoring even of patients at high risk for opioid misuse, such as those with a history of drug abuse or dependence. The findings are especially concerning considering that prescription drug abuse now ranks second (after marijuana) among illicitly used drugs, with approximately 2.2 million Americans using pain relievers nonmedically for the first time in 2009, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“Our study highlights a missed opportunity for identifying and reducing misuse of prescribed opioids in primary care settings,” said lead author Joanna Starrels, M.D., M.S. , assistant professor ofmedicine at Einstein. “The finding that physicians did not increase precautions for patients at highest risk for opioid misuse should be a call for a standardized approach to monitoring.”…

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March 4, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Safety, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romantic Love: Nature’s Painkiller?

In study of lovesick undergrads, it seemed to squelch pain as much as being distracted

From an October 14, 2010 Health Day news item

THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) — In a study involving a group of lovelorn Stanford undergrads, researchers discovered that high-octane romantic love might be a natural analgesic.

Love’s painkilling effect isn’t just that the person is distracted by thoughts of the loved one — although that works, too. Instead, the researchers found that feeling “head-over-heels” activates the same dopamine-oriented centers of the brain that tune in to illicit drugs such as cocaine.

“These pain-relieving systems are linked to reward systems,” said Dr. Sean Mackey, senior author of a paper appearing online Oct. 13 in PLoS One. “Love engages these deep brain systems that are involved with reward and craving and similar systems involved in addiction.”

“This gives us some insight into potential ways of further probing and ultimately translating that into treatment for pain,” added Mackey, who is chief of the pain management division at Stanford University School of Medicine….

Researchers flashed the picture of the beloved while inflicting pain with a handheld thermal probe. As a control, participants were asked to name every sport that doesn’t involve a ball, a form of distraction, while also activating the probe.

“To our pleasant surprise, both love and distraction reduce pain to an equal amount and that was good because it more fully allowed us to compare them,” Mackey explained.

The pain relief afforded by looking at the picture of the beloved seemed specific to that act — when participants were asked to look at a picture of an equally attractive and familiar acquaintance, their pain levels did not recede…

October 26, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

Prescription Pain Reliever Abuse on the Rise

Study Shows 111 Percent Increase in ER Visits Involving Nonmedical Use of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers 
From 2004 to 2008 the estimated number of emergency department visits linked to the nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers rose from 144,644 visits to 305,885 visits a year

The three prescription opioid pain relievers most frequently involved in hospital emergency department visits from 2004 to 2008 were:

  • Oxycodone products – ED visits involving nonmedical use rose 152 percent, to 105,214.
  • Hydrocodone products – emergency department visits involving nonmedical use rose 123 percent, to 89,051.
  • Methadone products – emergency department visits involving nonmedical use rose 73 percent, to 63,629.

July 6, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

   

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