It is a common belief that prescribing higher dosage of pain medicines might harm an individual’s health. However, a recent study, published in the British Medical Journal in January 2018, contradicted this belief when it stated that prescribing higher dosages of medicines but with fewer refills can help patients recover faster.
According to the researchers, when patients were prescribed higher dosage of medicines, they felt better early, which, in turn, enabled them to stop using the painkillers as soon as they felt relief. Further, because their duration of opioids usage was reduced, their chances of developing an addiction to these drugs also decreased significantly.
The researchers studied participants who underwent some sort of surgery between 2008 and 2016. Around 56 percent of them got their prescription refilled after completing their surgical procedures. Individuals were not differentiated on the basis of the type of opioid medication being filled. The participants were insured by Aetna, the insurance provider, for their pharmacy and health care costs.
The findings suggested that the number of individuals abusing or overdosing on opioids had increased drastically from 183 instances every 100,000 people in 2009 to 269 per 100,000 people in 2016. Moreover, during this period, lower doses of opioids and refills were being prescribed by the doctors.
According to the researchers prescribing an opioid painkiller to an individual increased their likelihood of abusing that substance by 20 percent for each additional week of taking the medication. Every refill of the painkiller prescription increased the person’s likelihood of abusing the drug by 40 percent. Therefore, limiting the duration for which the drug was prescribed and reducing the number of refills on each prescription could prove successful in reducing the chances of indulging in substance abuse.
Experts said that the study offered a wide scope for medical professionals to improve their prescription practices and thereby help in reducing the number of opioid abuse and overdose cases. Since, both surgical and non-surgical patients received similar numbers of opioid refills, it is possible to study this aspect beyond surgery to find a better way to deal with the opioid epidemic. However, the immediate need is to develop a better protocol for drug prescription so that there can be improved control and monitoring of prescription drug use and misuse.
Opioids are meant to be used as prescribed by doctors. Any non-medical use of these drugs can lead to dependence which can be dangerous and lead to fatal outcomes like overdose and consequent death. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 6,369 possible overdose deaths were reported between June 5, 2017 and March 8, 2018, with the weekly frequency of 103-270 cases. Further, more than 40 percent of the individuals who died last month from a suspected opioid overdose were taking opioids from 10 or more doctors in the past year.
If you or a loved one are battling an addiction to opioids or any other prescription drugs and are looking for assistance from an expert, the Arizona Prescription Abuse Helpline can help. We can connect you with some of the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Arizona. With state-of-the-art facilities and comprehensive treatment plans, these centers offer lasting recovery. Call us at our 24 Hour Prescription Drug Helpline number (866) 692-3563 or chat online with our trained experts to know more about the best treatment facility available in your vicinity.