A new study has determined that long-term prescription opioid use is increasing in the U.S. and warrants further research on the potential pros and cons.
Although the evidence revealed this increase “there is very little data supporting the benefits of this pattern of medication use,” said lead author Rami Mojtabai, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“Lack of data is not equivalent to lack of benefit,” he added “It’s quite possible that some patients indeed need long-term opioid treatment and benefit from it.
The research looked at newer trends and correlations of prescription painkiller use and long-term use from over 47,000 adults — the data was retrieved from the National Health and Nutrition Survey from 1999 to 2014.
The subjects were examined on their use of medications within a 30-day period. Long-term prescription opioid use was considered after 90 days or more.
“Physicians should be vigilant to indicators of misuse of these medications [such as] using a larger dose, for a longer period or more frequently than prescribed,” Mojtabai said. “They should also be vigilant about other factors that may increase the risk of opioid misuse such as abuse of other drugs or alcohol, mental health conditions and evidence of diversion or doctor-shopping”
Most patients using opioid treatment don’t engage in these behaviors, he added, “but the small minority who do are at increased risk of experiencing adverse effects of the medications such as the development of opioid use disorder and overdose.”
The prevalence of opioid-based medications went up from just over 4 percent in American adults in 1999-2000 to nearly… (continue reading)