Opioid crackdown forces pain patients to taper off drugs they say they need

Opioid crackdown forces pain patients to taper off drugs they say they need

Publication date: Sep 11, 2019

(Salwan Georges/The Washington Post) Carol and Hank Skinner of Alexandria, Va. , can talk about pain all day long.

That’s when a chronic pain patient has to switch to a lower dosage of medication.

He is part of a sweeping change in chronic pain management – the tapering of millions of patients who have been relying, in many case for years, on high doses of opioids.

With close to 70,000 people in the U. S. dying every year from drug overdoses, and prescription opioids blamed for helping ignite this national catastrophe, the medical community has grown wary about the use of these painkillers.

Chronic pain patients form a vast constituency in America, and millions of them take opioids for relief.

Even medical experts who advocate a major reduction in the use of opioids for chronic pain have warned that rapid, involuntary tapering could harm patients who are dependent on these drugs.

There is little doubt among medical experts that opioids have been prescribed at unsound and dangerous levels, particularly in their misuse for chronic pain.

The United States is now in the midst of a -national experiment” as misguided as the one it conducted 20 years ago, when doctors put millions of patients on opioids with little understanding of the consequences, says Tami Mark, senior director of behavioral health financing and quality measurement for RTI International, a North Carolina think tank.

In interviews and correspondence with The Washington Post in recent days, chronic pain patients have described their anxiety about the national reversal on opioids.

They say they’re not drug addicts or criminals, they’re just people in pain who were following the doctor’s orders.

Other chronic pain patients complain of how hard it is to get any pills at all.

Last year she was tapered to zero, because her insurance company wouldn’t pay for the drug testing required by the pain clinic.

A handful of research studies in the 1990s seemed to support a benign view of opioids as a chronic pain treatment, but the research was often funded by drug companies.

Some of the most vocal advocates for opioids were doctors who accepted fees from drug companies for speeches.

Documents cited in a massive lawsuit by the state of Oklahoma against Johnson Johnson showed the company targeted physicians that prescribed high volumes of opioids: -Our objective is to convince them that DURAGESIC is effective and safe to use in areas such as chronic back pain, degenerative joint disease, and osteoarthritis,” the company wrote.

But by that point an entire generation of pain doctors had been trained to view opioids as a safe, effective, relatively nonaddictive treatment for chronic pain from common ailments such as bad backs, torn rotator cuffs, headaches and arthritis – and millions of pain patients had become dependent on opioids.

What she and many others found was that opioids simply didn’t work very well when it came to relieving pain over long periods of time.

(Salwan Georges/The Washington Post) A flood of opioids In July, The Post published a Drug Enforcement Administration database that revealed drug companies had flooded the U. S. with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills in a seven-year period, from 2006 to 2012.

Concepts Keywords
Acid Critical chronic pain
Addiction Chronic back pain
Alabama Cut
Alexandria Shoulder surgeries
Anhedonia Open heart surgery
Anxiety Pain management
Arthritis Ankle surgery
Bankruptcy Chronic shoulder pain
Benign Epidemic simple rule
Birmingham Neck pain arthritis
Blood Pressure Oxycodone
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Buprenorphine Purdue Pharma
Cap Fentanyl
CDC Opioids
Charleston Gazette Psychoactive drugs
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Cleveland Morphinans
Clubfoot Drug culture
DEA Opioid epidemic
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Temperature
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Semantics

Type Source Name
drug DRUGBANK Fentanyl
gene UNIPROT DESI1
gene UNIPROT SLC35G1
gene UNIPROT REG3A
gene UNIPROT HHIP
gene UNIPROT ST13
disease MESH satisfaction
disease MESH lung cancer
disease DOID lung cancer
disease MESH complications
disease MESH clubfoot
disease DOID clubfoot
pathway BSID Release
drug DRUGBANK Hydrocodone
disease MESH chronic pain
disease MESH community
gene UNIPROT MXD1
drug DRUGBANK Hexachlorophene
gene UNIPROT MARK1
gene UNIPROT TANK
disease MESH anxiety
disease DOID anxiety
disease MESH drug addicts
disease MESH arthritis
disease DOID arthritis
drug DRUGBANK Oxycodone
drug DRUGBANK Ranitidine
gene UNIPROT RAN
gene UNIPROT IK
gene UNIPROT TNFSF14
gene UNIPROT SPG7
gene UNIPROT NR1I3
gene UNIPROT CASR
gene UNIPROT CXADR
gene UNIPROT ARR3
gene UNIPROT DBF4
gene UNIPROT ARSK
drug DRUGBANK Diamorphine
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone
disease MESH back pain
disease DOID degenerative joint disease
disease MESH osteoarthritis
drug DRUGBANK Water
gene UNIPROT BAD
gene UNIPROT NFKBIZ
gene UNIPROT STAB2
disease MESH death
disease MESH suicide
drug DRUGBANK Nonoxynol-9
gene UNIPROT MME
gene UNIPROT MMP12
drug DRUGBANK Morphine
gene UNIPROT CAP1
gene UNIPROT HACD1
gene UNIPROT SORBS1
gene UNIPROT SERPINB6
gene UNIPROT LARGE1
drug DRUGBANK Buprenorphine
disease MESH emergency
disease MESH anhedonia
disease MESH suffering
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
gene UNIPROT LITAF
drug DRUGBANK Isoxaflutole
drug DRUGBANK Tricyclazole
gene UNIPROT RXFP2
gene UNIPROT TNFSF10

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