Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Some ER docs pass out opioids like Tic-Tacs

I have been in the Emergency Room several times lately, and through the curtains of the treatment booths have heard the doctors discussing the painkiller prescription the patient would be getting. The patients, as far as I could hear, were not crying or squirming in pain, but "big drugs" like hydrocodone and oxycontin were being dispensed.

Time was, ER docs were very suspicious of patients with frequent visits for vague pains, suspecting they were trying to get painkillers. Has this really changed?

There is no doubt that opioids are being overprescribed, resulting in an abuse epidemic.

Hospitals and doctors differ widely in prescribing these drugs for, say, a sprained ankle.

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn says US ERs prescribe 15 to 40 pills.

Those who received 30 pills were twice as likely to fill another opioid scrip in 3-6 months.

The authors of the study say there is an urgent need for guidelines for prescribing these drugs for minor injuries.

These meds are extremely addictive, and prescribing them for minor injuries results in thousands of pills getting loose in the community.

Prescribing varies by state. In Delaware only 1.6% of patients got an opioid. In comparison, 16% in Mississippi did.

Just writing such prescriptions for 20 pills, would result in 37,721 fewer pills rattling around the community.

When I had my surgery six weeks ago, I stuck with Tylenol--they offered me the hugely addictive Fentanyl as well as a home supply of Percocets. I said don't need 'em.

Also--this stuff makes you crazy constipated, nauseated, and probably wobbly and not fit to drive. I know old people who are given these drugs for arthritis. They are not really for long-term use...soooo...this is not a good idea.

Also--over the counter painkillers like Advil or Aleve cut inflammation. Tylenol does not.

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