The opioid problem remains huge despite steps being initiated to curtail its abuse. Misuse of prescription medications has largely been attributed to its easy availability as over-the-counter drugs andthe tendency of physicians to prescribe more than what might be necessary to treat a problem. This led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prescribe a series of guidelines to primary care physicians recommending prescription painkillers to their patients complaining of chronic pain. The pain relievers may be advised to patients outside of cancer treatment, palliative care and end-of-life care.
Agroup of researchers asserts that prescribing opioids to patients who have undergone dialysis may increase the risk of mortality over the next two years and may alsoaggravate the risk of dialysis discontinuation and hospitalization. The revelations were made by the scientists at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week meetingin New Orleans from October 31, 2016, to November 5, 2016.
Mortality rate, discontinued dialysis and hospitalizations linked with opioid prescription
Elaborating on what they had observed, the scientists in their presentation at the meeting revealed, “Patients prescribed opioids either short-term(less than 90 days) or long-term had a higher mortality risk than those not prescribed opioids –4percent higher for those with short-term prescriptions and 27 percent higher for those with longer-term scripts,” adding that patients belonging to both the groups also suffered from greater possibilities of hospitalization and dialysis discontinuation.
The researchers for study purposes investigated details about the opioid prescriptions obtained from the U.S. Renal Data System between 2006 and 2010. Opioid prescriptions for more than 153,000 dialysis patients in 2010 were then analyzed and linked with rates of mortality, hospitalization and cessation of dialysis from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2012.The researchers included factors such as uninterrupted dialysis treatment for a minimum of one year coupled with full coverage obtained under Medicare Parts A, B and D. Other factors such as demographic characteristics, ethnicity features, co-occurring disorders and residence were controlled to get the desired results.
The respondents were equally divided on gender basis. Roughly one-fifth of the patients were about 20-44 years old, nearly 40 percent between 45 and 64 years while the rest were aged around 65 years and more. Most of the patients under observation were either white or African American with slightly lower number of African Americans than whites.
Opioids prescribed to dialysis patients increases risk of mortality
The scientists found that between 2006 and 2010, more than 60 percent of the dialysis patients had a prescription filled for an opioid medication. Nearly one-thirdof these patients were prescribed opioids that could last for a minimum of three months in a year. Prolonged prescription of pain relievers was independently linked with females, whites, young people, dual status involving Medicare/Medicaid, detection of cancer, hospitalization rates and rural background.
The opioids that were found to be most commonly prescribed were hydrocodone (11.7 percent), oxycodone (5.4 percent) and tramadol (2.5 percent). Theywere prescribedto control the pain associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. Nonetheless, the increased mortality rate was common in all opioids use although use of codeine was linked to higher chances of hospitalization. Prolonged prescription of analgesics like hydrocodone, oxycodone, propoxyphene, morphine, hydromorphone and fentanyl were to a great extent linked with greater risk of discontinuity of dialysis. The researchers could not establish the causal relationship but they do suggest finding less harmful interventionstotreat pain in dialysis patients.
Freedom from opioid addiction is possible
Though opioids are touted as a necessity in favor of patients in pain, tendency to overdose on them and consequent addiction levels as a result of incessant abuse has sent the American population in a tizzy.
If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs and is seeking help, the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline can assist you in finding the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in U.S.A. You may call our 24/7 helpline number at 866-450-1557 or chat online with our representatives to know about the most reputable prescription drug abuse treatment centers.