A new pain pellet that scientists are developing in Columbus is about half the size of a grain of rice, but researchers say it delivers a big dose of relief that could one day help fight the opioid epidemic.
The tiny rod holds a nonaddictive painkiller that doctors could insert in the lower back, much like an epidural, to give a patient a break from the chronic or acute pain, said Dr. Ali Rezai, director of the Neurological Institute at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. He would not reveal the painkiller, saying only that it is a drug that already has been used successfully as a cardiovascular medication.
A small trial of 55 people with sciatica — pain in the lower back and legs — showed that the pellet stopped the pain for up to one year and was safe and easy to use, Fiore said. Researchers will next seek to perform a large clinical trial, hoping to confirm effectiveness and safety. The trial will involve a broader group of people culled from pain centers across Ohio.
Opioids are commonly used to treat chronic pain, Rezai said.
But the highly addictive nature of the medications, Fiore said, is a reason to find alternatives. Someone who takes opioids for a single day, for example, has a 6 percent chance of being addicted a year later.
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The pharmaceutical and biotech industry is tasked with one purpose: to improve the quality of life for people. But, what if that task were being compromised by the medicines they’re creating?
In terms of their clinical results, opioids have shown demonstrably positive impacts on reducing pain associated with a chronic disease, and they are a staple therapy for certain diseases. In 2012, some 259 million prescriptions were written for prescription opioids, which would be enough to ensure that every adult in the U.S. received their own bottle.
Opioids are a highly addictive therapy that, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, led to 20,101 overdose-related deaths in 2015.
In fact, the dangers of opioid addiction and overdose-related death have become such a reality that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently requested Endo International take Opana ER, an opioid therapy, off the market.
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Opioid-related hospitalisations among women in the United States increased far faster than among men between 2005 and 2014, a federal government report says.
Among women, hospitalisations involving opioid painkillers or heroin rose 75 percent, compared to 55 percent among men, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The surge among women during that 10-year period meant that by 2014 males and females were being hospitalised at a similar rate — about 225 hospitalisations per 100,000 people.
In 2014, hospitalisation rates among women were highest in West Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts, exceeding 350 per 100,000 people. Among men, the highest rates were in the District of Columbia, New York and Maryland, topping 440 hospitalisations per 100,000.
Misuse of potent painkillers such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicoprofen (hydrocodone/ibuprofen) sends 1,000 Americans to emergency rooms each day. Opioid-related overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999, according to federal statistics.
BEIJING: Having a green thumb can get you into trouble with the law – if you grow the wrong plants – as an elderly Chinese man found out.
The 62-year-old man, surnamed Tu, was arrested after he planted some 800 opium poppies in his farm in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, news portal ThePaper.cn reported.
After locating the farm, police apprehended Tu, who said he had meant to use the seeds from the poppies to season his food.
It is illegal in China to cultivate more than 500 poppy plants, as they can be used to produce illegal drugs such as opium, morphine and heroin. Violators face up to five years’ jail.
In a similar case last June, an elderly couple in Liaoning province grew more than 800 opium poppies because their flowers “looked beautiful”.
The Star Online
Opioids, which include Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and morphine, are powerful painkillers. In the past, opioids were mainly used for patients with cancer pain, at the end of life, or after major surgery. But starting about 20 years ago, there was a big push for doctors to prescribe opioids for acute and chronic pain of all types, such as headaches, fibromyalgia, arthritis and back pain.
At the same time, doctors were told, incorrectly, that these medications were not addictive. As a matter of fact, doctors were told that less than 1 percent of patients on long-term opioid therapy became addicted or dependent on the medications. Furthermore, starting patients on these medications, doctors were told, would return them to normal function. They would get their lives back.
If you are a young person (younger than 25) and take an opioid for any reason — after a surgery, tooth extraction, etc. — you are 50 percent more likely to become addicted in your lifetime. The young brain should not be exposed to opiates unless absolutely necessary.
Now, pain is very personal and emotional for many people. There are many people whose lives have been changed for the better because of opioid therapy, but the above statistics are sobering.
Because of the evolving understanding of opioid pain medications and the drastic increase in people living with addiction, and overdose deaths, providers are becoming more cautious about prescribing these medications. We will explore this and the community response to the opioid crisis in an article in this space next month.