Opioids should be avoided in case of Chronic diseases: IMA
Endorsing the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Medical Association suggests that the doctors should avoid prescribing powerful painkillers like Ocycodone and Codeine to patients suffering from chronic pain. They believe that the risks that the drugs make them vulnurable to are far less than the benefit they gain from it.
Opioid drugs are predominantly central nervous system agents that are used medically to relieve chronic pain. The use of opioids such as Oxycodone and Codeine is a leading cause of death among adults across the Globe. In fact, every day in US alone, over 40 people die from overdoses of opioid painkillers. The drug is also commonly subjected to misuse and abuse.
Commenting on the same, Dr. SS Agarwal, National President IMA and Padma Shri Awardee Dr. KK Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General IMA jointly quoted, “IMA recommends that doctors should prescribe opioids only after other therapies have failed and rely on the lowest possible doses. Management of chronic pain is an art. For the vast majority of patients, the known, serious, and too-often fatal risks far outweigh the unproven and transient benefits. Opioid prescriptions should be limited to people who have cancer, are receiving end-of-life or palliative care, or are suffering with serious illnesses.”
Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than three months. IMA recommends that doctors try other treatments, prescribing ibuprofen, referring a patient to a physical therapist or using injection treatments, before prescribing opioids. Where necessary, short-term treatment with opoids is recommended, typically just 3 days, and sometimes 7 days, is far more preferable than long-term use. Patients who take opioids for extended periods are much more likely to become addicted. It is also a concern that more people may turn to heroin if opioids are harder to obtain.
A few additional guidelines issued to its 2.5 lakh members by IMA include:
· It is not true that Oxycodone is less addictive than other pain medications
· Most placebo-controlled, randomized trials of opioids have lasted 6 weeks or less.
· Doctors should also read and know how to manage addiction, including offering naloxone, a drug that reverses an overdose, or buprenorphine or methandone, both of which are used to treat addiction.
· Oxycodone (poor man’s heroin) abuse is the most common. With its heroin-like effects, the prescription drug is not only popular for recreational use, but is also very dangerous. Oxycodone is extremely addictive and it doesn't take much to overdose on oxycodone and without immediate attention, it can lead to death. On a global scale, 100,000 people die from oxycodone abuse per year.
· Combining lorazepam, alcohol and oxycodone can be deadly
· Derived from opium poppy seeds, opioids primarily include prescription painkillers and heroin. Synthetic opioids include popular prescription drugs like Oxycontin (Oxycodone), Vicodin (Hydrocodone) and Duragesic (Fentanyl).
· Combined with their highly-addictive nature, opioids are dangerous because a single large dose can cause severe respiratory depression and death.