During an 11-year period ending in 2013, the number of prescriptions from the VA for pain meds like oxycodone and morphine surged 259.
Living with the VA’s new painkiller policy has been a tough adjustment for recent and older vets alike.
“There wasn’t a lot of discussion with the veteran except for the provider saying, ‘We’re not going to be doing this anymore because it’s not good for you,’ ” said Joy Ilem, of Disabled American Veterans, one of the country’s largest veteran service groups.
“These are powerful tools that provide relief they can’t get anywhere else,” Walz said. Rep. “If it’s appropriate to use an opioid, then let’s do so with a plan so that there is an endgame.”.
But when her doctor reassured her that a long-acting opioid medication called OxyContin would fight her pain without any negative repercussions, she decided.
"What we've learned is that throwing medication at chronic pain isn't going to make it go away," Chou says. "And there are clear risks to using these drugs." Even nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can be hazardous. In July the FDA issued new alerts about the risk of heart attack and stroke associated with drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
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In response to this runaway painkiller epidemic, federal officials in recent years have launched educational programs for physicians, designed to halt the overuse of opioid drugs.
The main natural narcotic pain medications are morphine and codeine, and the major synthetic opioids are Dilaudid, Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin.
Medical malpractice can be caused by various actions or inactions on the part of health care providers, but the main cause of medical malpractice always boils down to negligence.
Further, a lumbar strain is hardly a serious or painful injury. It’s pretty clear that this doctor would be negligent for giving this patient narcotics, and could successfully be sued for medical malpractice. Let’s say that a patient had a minor back injury such as a lumbar (low back) strain, and that the patient’s physician prescribed him/her OxyContin (oxycodone).
Opioid drugs are important medications for the treatment of pain, opioid as well as medications available by prescription such as oxycodone and methadone.
Be aware of reduced tolerance: Be aware of changes in your health or your weight. Be aware after a period of abstinence, for any reason. If you start again your tolerance will be lower.
Avoid mixing drugs, especially opioids, alcohol and benzos. Know what to expect if you do mix. Start with a lower dose or do a test shot to taste the drug.
Do a chest noogie- take your knuckles and rub roughly on the center of their chest. If a person isnt overdosing, they will respond to the pain. If they dont respond, it is likely an overdose.
If youre alone and have to leave the person at any time, put on their side so that they do not choke.
Avoid using alone.
Hydrocodone, by itself, has been listed in Schedule II along with oxycodone, another powerful pain medicine in such pills as OxyContin, since.
(Photo: Toby Talbot, AP). Hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen pills, also known as Vicodin, are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.
Opiate painkillers are among the most abused prescription medicines in the U.S., DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement. Monitoring the Future's survey of high school seniors found that twice as many of the students abused Vicodin than abused the more tightly controlled narcotic painkiller OxyContin. Adding non-narcotic drugs, such as aspirin, to narcotic painkillers doesn't make them less addictive, Leonhart said.
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Tough new restrictions on the powerful, highly addictive hydrocodone combination painkillers, such as Vicodin, will take effect in mid-October as the federal government elevates the opioid drug to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act.
The rule also mandates that doctors must write the prescriptions in 30-day increments that can only be filled sequentially.