Prescription opioids are most commonly administered as part of treatment to alleviate chronic pain. Scientists identify opioid pharmacotherapy as one of the key reasons triggering chances of prolonged exposure to pain relievers and consequent addiction. As per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2015 report, nearly four million people aged 12 and above reported misuse of prescription pain relievers. In the same year, as many as 15,000 people died from prescription opioid overdose, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) findings. This makes it necessary for researchers to find out probable hereditary, neural, behavioral and environmental risk factors that make some people dependent on prescription medication.
While opioid use disorder may be the result of a complicated interrelationship that exists between polygenic characteristics and extensive range of environmental factors, a group of researchers put forward a multi-variant genetic panel that can be used to identify those at an increased risk of developing addiction to prescription drugs. The findings were shared at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
Assessing risk of opioid addiction
For research purposes, the scientists had used a genome-wide association (GWAS) study to pinpoint at many common genetic variants or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to evaluate genetic factors linked to greater potential for getting addicted to analgesics in 70 patients who were detected with dependence on heroin or prescription medicines. The details obtained from these patients were then compared with 68 healthy volunteers who were put in the control group. After a detailed observation of certain gene variants, the risk score was calculated. The risk score ranged between 1 and 100 with increased potential for addiction exceeding 52.
The findings pointed out more than 75 percent of individuals aggrieved from an existing opioid addiction disorder and 28 percent of the participants from the control group with addiction risk above 52. The authors of the study are of the opinion that “The prediction algorithm with this multi-variant genetic panel can be used for prescription opioid addiction risk assessment… and may provide information to physicians to improve therapeutic decisions in pain management and prevent abuse and addiction.”
Need to control growing trend of opioid prescription misuse
Realizing the growing misuse of prescription pain relievers, in 2016, CDC issued guidelines for physicians regarding prescription of opioids to treat chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. As per CDC, the number of deaths caused due to opioid pain medication has increased tremendously in the past decade with the sale of pain medication rising in parallel with opioid-related overdose deaths. The set of new guidelines is aimed to control the number of opioid medications to those who visit offices of primary-care clinicians complaining of non-cancer pain symptoms. It is estimated that currently, approximately 20 percent of such patients are given prescription painkillers.
Necessary relief at hand
Various reasons have been attributed to constant abuse of prescription drugs, most common being prolonged pain afflicting those suffering from cancer or from injuries that may be non-cancerous in nature. Misuse due to any reason can result in adverse results affecting mental and physical health of a person.
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 and comprehensive prescription drug abuse treatment centers in your area.