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Showing posts with the label Opioids

FDA Bans Use Of Codeine AND Tramadol In Children Under 12

"Beware of Giving Kids Codeine or TramadolThe FDA is warning that children younger than 12 shouldn’t take codeine products to treat pain or cough or tramadol to treat pain. The FDA hasn’t approved tramadol for use in children. Kids younger than 18 shouldn’t take tramadol to treat pain after surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) or adenoids (adenoidectomy). (Codeine labeling already warns that children should not be treated for post-surgery pain with codeine in these cases.) Youths ages 12 through 18 who are obese or have obstructive sleep apnea (blocked airflow during sleep) or a weakened respiratory system shouldn’t take codeine or tramadol. These risk factors can increase their chances of serious breathing problems. Tramadol is available only for adults and by prescription to treat pain. Codeine products are available by prescription and, in some states, over-the-counter (OTC). Codeine is often combined with acetaminophen in prescription pain medicines and with other cold …

New Saliva Test Helps Clinician Monitor Pain Patients

A Denver-based company has developed a test that can help physicians monitor opioid usage in patients--using saliva instead of urine samples.  The test is known as CORE (Comprehensive Oral fluid Rx Evaluation). Cordant Health Solutions, the developer of this test, says that it is more accurate than the widely used urine tests currently in use.  A sample is easily collected simply by swabbing the inside of a patient's mouth. The test can detect if patient is taking the right amount of medication, while urine tests only detect the presence or absence of a drug.  Urine tests also give false results sometimes.  As an example, the decongestant component in common cold remedies can trigger as a positive for amphetamines.

While it has its positives, the company admits that the test is not foolproof. Drug levels found in saliva do not correspond with blood test results about 25 percent of the time. Another drawback is that the result of a saliva test is not available for 48 to 72 hours, wh…

Canadian Researchers Discover Cellular Mechanism Of Opioid Withdrawal

Hot off the presses!!!

We're all aware the of the existing opioid and heroin epidemics going on in the world...and that the need to use more alternative and complementary practices to manage chronic pain is urgent. Sadly, we're also aware that chronic use of opioids has led many into addiction, and ultimately death. But perhaps new hope is in store!

An exciting study at the University of Calgary reveals that an existing anti-gout medication can help to ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.  Their findings reveal the cellular mechanism of withdrawal and can--and hopefully will--lead to new ways to approach the problem of opioid addiction.

Keep in mind that this study is still at the preclinical levels. Let's hope at a future date there is more good news in store. This cannot come soon enough!

You can read more about this very exciting news by clicking here!

Sources: EurekaAlert; Wikipedia

The Tsunami Effect of Opioid Dependence

In one of the first studies of its kind, the FAIR Health group released some very interesting information last fall.  This group used claims data from privately insured persons to illustrate some obvious, but very shocking conclusions about privately insured persons who are regular opioid users.
The data from this study looked at (non-identifying) data from insurers who cover upwards of 150 million patients. They noticed the following observations:
From 2007-2014, medical services for people with opioid dependence diagnoses skyrocketed more than 3,000%
Much of the increase in opioid dependence occurred since 2011, even though this period was marked by increased attention to the problem and a growing concern amongst advocates as they called on doctors to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions.
Younger patients (19-35 years) were most likely to be diagnosed as “opioid dependent” relative to other age groups. (Dependence is defined by symptoms such as increased tolerance, withdrawal or un…

Chronic Wound Healing--New Study Shows That Opioids Help The Pain But Slow The Gain

Chronic wounds--often the consequence of diabetes, cancer, and other chronic illnesses are a very expensive and very challenging problem the world of health care. In 2009 it was reported that 6.5 million Americans suffered from this problem. At that time the annual expense of treatment was estimated to be $25 billion and growing, primarily due to longer life expectancies and the sharp rise in the incidence of diabetes.

Typically these wounds are a source of pain--and being chronic wounds, the pain can also be chronic. Sometimes diabetic wounds in particular are very slow to heal due to changes in circulation to the limbs, and sometimes amputation is necessary.  Therefore it's logical to remediate the discomfort of these wounds with pain medications, including opioids.

But a new study released by George Washington University is causing second thoughts. After completing a study of 450 subjects who were victims of chronic wound problems, an interesting observation came about.  Accor…

Help, Let Me Out! Tapering Patients Off Of An Opioid Regimen

Are you a chronic pain patient who has been on opioids for a long time?  Or maybe a physician who has patients like this?  As you might know, there is no magic formula for "getting off" of an opioid regimen.  The risks of long term use of opioids is quite clear. In addition, after a period of use, the
effectiveness of an opioid regimen seems to diminish.

One thing is for certain.  If a patient has been on an opioid regimen for an extended period of time, an abrupt discontinuation can lead to withdrawal symptoms. That is certainly not a good plan of action!
So, how can a patient find their way off of one of these treatment regimens in a healthy way?

Here are some suggestions based on a lecture at the World Congress of the World Institute of Pain in May 2016:

1) For patients on multiple opioid regimens, decrease long acting opioids first. This way the patient still has the shorter acting opioids available if necessary.

2) Go slowly.  Reduce dosage of remaining opioids by 10 …