Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Stratify Opioid Users to Prevent Misuse

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Stratify Opioid Users to Prevent Misuse

Article excerpt

FROM THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION HOUSE OF DELEGATES INTERIM MEETING

NEW ORLEANS - Do you know which of your patients is likely to misuse or abuse opioid medications?

They can be stratified according to risk, but many physicians don't know how or don't take the time to do so, according to Dr. Lynn R. Webster, medical director of Lifetree Clinical Research in Salt Lake City and director at large for the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

It is important to try to prevent misuse or abuse, given that overdoses and deaths from prescription drugs are on the rise.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, emergency department visits involving nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals (either alone or in combination with another drug) increased 98% between 2004 and 2009, from 627,291 visits to 1.2 million visits. There was an 83% rise in emergency department visits involving adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals between 2005 and 2009, from 1.3 million to 2.3 million visits.

Opioids were the most frequently cited in those ED visits, accounting for about 50% of nonmedical use. Psychotherapeutic agents accounted for a third of the nonmedical use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three most frequently cited drugs in those visits were hydrocodone (alone or in combination), accounting for 104,490 visits; oxycodone (alone or in combination), for 175,949 visits; and methadone, for 70,637 visits.

To properly assess and treat patients, physicians should understand and agree upon terminology, said Dr. …

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