90% Increase in Risk of Overdose to Patients who Survive Narcotic Painkillers

90% Increase in Risk of Overdose to Patients who Survive Narcotic Painkillers

As per a new study, mostly doctors are unaware of the fact that their patients are overdosed. Researchers found that those patients who continue to survive prescription of narcotic painkillers are 90% more likely to be overdosed by their doctors. The rate of narcotic prescription painkillers hit all the record high in the United States. The study reports that patients who continued on drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet after an overdose had twice the odds of overdosing again within the next two years.

Dr. Marc Larochelle, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said the study found that 70% of patients who were overdosed were getting drugs from the same doctor who prescribed the narcotic before the overdose. Though, the over prescription of the drugs throws light on the weak medical system, it does not necessarily states that doctors are bad. Larochelle and colleagues used a large insurance claims database to collect information on nearly 3,000 people who overdosed on narcotic painkillers over 12 years.

Larochelle said that there exists direct link that the more narcotics you put in the population, the more overdoses we are going to have. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses are at epidemic levels, as are the rates of related overdose deaths. As per the 2014 report by the CDC, the rates of drug overdoses hit all time highest in 2014. The major contribution in the increase of drug overdoses was due to narcotic pain killers and heroine. The statistical report by the CDC showed that more than 47,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2014, a 14% increase over 2013. Since 2000, nearly half a million people have died from overdoses.

Researchers consider Oxycodone, which includes the brand-name drug OxyContin, and hydrocodone, which is in the brand-name drug Vicodin, as the main culprit behind the drug overdose. Oxycodone is considered as the most commonly prescribed narcotic painkillers. Larochelle believes that there is need to have better communication between Emergency Rooms and doctors who prescribed the drugs in order to curb the cause. Dr. Scott Krakower, is assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., said “narcotic painkillers can be highly addictive and patients may seek them out despite overdose, thus ignoring risks with these agents”.

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