Warning patients about risk of opioid misuse lowers opioid abuse

Warning patients about risk of opioid misuse lowers opioid abuse

“Prevention is better than cure,” is a famous adage that all are familiar with. While this aphorism has been used time and again to remind the young generation of making informed decisions, a group of scientists in their study titled “Discussing Opioid Risks With Patients to Reduce Misuse and Abuse: Evidence From 2 Surveys” have used the same to explain how warning patients, prior to treatment, about the impact of prolonged opioid use can result in hazardous effects.

The scientists in the study, published online in the journal Annals of Family Medicine in the November/December 2016 issue, have suggested that discussing the risk of harmful effects associated with long-term opioid use with patients before commencement of the treatment can help prevent opioid misuse.

The scientists employed two population-representative samples to examine the impact of recent federal guidelines that doctors must inform their patients about the potential risk of prolonged opioid use disorder before recommending any kind of prescription medications. The scientists observed that after making the necessary adjustments for covariates, there was a 60 percent reduction in self-reported saving of opioid pills, for later use, among the participants who had reported talking to their doctors about the risks associated with dependence on prescription opioids.

Warning against opioid abuse to avoid opioid misuse

The research comes in the aftermath of prescription guidelines by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending clinicians to discuss the benefits of opioid use therapy along with associated risks with their patients. The CDC suggested that the topics of discussion with patients must include risks associated with prolonged opioid use disorders apart from the trauma that family members may have to face if pain relievers are voluntarily or unconsciously shared.

Though no proof is currently available that can help assess the efficacy of patient education or any other risk alleviation methods from use of analgesics according to guidelines put forth by the CDC, the researchers have observed how open communication with patients can help improve patients’ behaviors. However, more research is required to test the association in controlled settings.

Addiction to opioids is an epidemic

Initial trial and licensing of opioid medicines for pain treatment had underestimated the risk of addiction. Rising numbers of Americans seeking treatment in rehabilitation centers coupled with figures of overdose deaths forced agencies at the federal level to get a reality check on what painkillers’ abuse could result in. Overdose caused more than 33,000 lives in 2015 and it is estimated that nearly 91 Americans succumb to opioid overdose every day.

Elucidating on the rise in number of deaths attributed to opioid misuse, Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director said, “The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming. The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders.”

Timely treatment of opioid abuse is important

If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs, it’s time to seek an expert’s advice in knowing about the side effects and taking preventive measures. Effective prescription addiction treatments are available. You can look for the finest prescription drug rehab in Florida by connecting with the Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline. To learn more about the best options in drug addiction treatment centers in Florida, you can chat online with our representatives or call the 24/7 helpline number at 866-292-3211.

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