The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that it will require common opioid analgesics such as oxycodone and morphine to carry a warning of “black box”. These are the strongest warning the FDA can issue, and this will warn users about the potential for addiction, abuse and overdose.
What’s behind the move? opioid addiction has been rising for decades in the US and it has reached epidemic proportions similar. It is also a big problem for women. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every three minutes, a woman goes to the emergency room after abusing prescription painkillers, and in 2010 (the last year for which statistics are available), five times as many women died from an overdose in 1999.
the hope with the new warning, the FDA says, is that it will raise awareness of potential risks involved with the opioid. “Today’s actions are one of the largest companies to inform prescribers risk through opiate products, and one of the many steps that the FDA intends to take this year as part of our comprehensive action plan to reverse this epidemic, “said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD, in a press release .
However, while a stern warning sounds good in theory, is what will really make all that much? Steve Yoon, M. D., physiatrist Kerlan-Jobe the Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, who is trained in pain medicine, is encouraging. “This black box warning can make a practitioner think twice before prescribing this drug,” he says.
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After all, patients are not entirely to blame for prescription drug addiction; Yoon says doctors are to blame, too. “I have seen that there are many uneducated people out there who are prescribing opioid medications that could be treated with something else,” he says. “Most people who abuse these drugs benefit from them as recipes that are not doing so illegally,” he adds.
said, it is important to be aware of what you’re getting into when you fill a prescription. How do you know if you need opioids or something else? Yoon says that usually depends on the time needed medication. If you just have surgery and are expected to have pain for a week or two, it is good to have a prescription opiates on hand to help manage short-term pain while recovering, he says .
But if you strain your lower back and pain does not improve, Yoon said that should not be prescribed opioids, although many doctors. “There are alternatives, such as therapy physical ,” he says. “These should be explored first.”
And, if you are not sure, it’s okay to ask your doctor if you really need that Rx. “Just going to help everyone think twice before using this medicine as a treatment,” says Yoon.
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