Science

Study Finds Patients Prescribed Painkillers for 30 Days Often Become Addicts

By | Dec 13, 2014 03:52 PM EST
0
Drug Addiction

Opioids.(Photo : Reuters)

According to new study, almost half of patients taking opioids for more than 30 days became addicted and were still taking them three years later.

Opioid is medication that relieves pain. It reduces the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain, often used for safe and effective pain management. Opioids include drugs like Morphine, Oxycodone, OxyContin and Hydrocodone.

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The report, which was released on Tuesday by pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, found that about 60 percent of patients take painkillers along other drugs like muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety pills.

Express Script studied both short-term and long-term use of opioid drugs of 6.8 million Americans from 2009 to 2013. Long-term users of drugs carry greater risks of drug addiction.

Drug mixtures may be dangerous and sometimes, fatal. Drug combinations are the most common cause of overdose deaths among patients.

About two-thirds of patients taking multiple drugs have obtained prescriptions from two or more physicians. Patients usually get prescriptions from more than one pharmacy.

Public health campaign had succeeded in reducing the number of patients taking painkillers. Doctors have been more careful about the number of patients being prescribed with narcotic painkillers. However, the amount of prescriptions and time of medication taken by the patients prescribed with it have increased.

The study also found that opioid patients younger adults take use more opioid intake and more frequent medications. 30% more women than men take opioid. However, men tend to take higher doses and more frequent medications.

Americans consume about 80 percent of the world's opioid supply. Every year, about 16,000 people die due to opioid overdoses.

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