Navigation Links
Death by prescription painkiller

The number of deaths involving commonly prescribed painkillers is higher than the number of deaths by overdose from heroin and cocaine combined, according to researchers at McGill University. In a first-of-its-kind review of existing research, the McGill team has put the spotlight on a major public health problem: the dramatic increase in deaths due to prescribed painkillers, which were involved in more than 16,000 deaths in 2010 in the U.S. alone. Currently, the US and Canada rank #1 and #2 in per capita opioid consumption.

"Prescription painkiller overdoses have received a lot of attention in editorials and the popular press, but we wanted to find out what solid evidence is out there," says Nicholas King, of the Biomedical Ethics Unit in the Faculty of Medicine. In an effort to identify and summarize available evidence, King and his team conducted a systematic review of existing literature, comprehensively surveying the scientific literature and including only reports with quantitative evidence.

"We also wanted to find out why thousands of people in the U.S and Canada are dying from prescription painkillers every year, and why these rates have climbed steadily during the past two decades," says Nicholas King, of the Biomedical Ethics Unit in the Faculty of Medicine. "We found evidence for at least 17 different determinants of increasing opioid-related mortality, mainly, dramatically increased prescription and sales of opioids; increased use of strong, long-acting opioids like Oxycontin and methadone; combined use of opioids and other (licit and illicit) drugs and alcohol; and social and demographic factors."

"We found little evidence that Internet sales of pharmaceuticals and errors by doctors and patients--factors commonly cited in the media -- have played a significant role," Prof. King adds.

The findings point to a complicated "epidemic" in which physicians, users, the health care system, and the social environment all play a role, according to the researchers.

"Our work provides a reliable summary of the possible causes of the epidemic of opioid overdoses, which should be useful for clinicians and policy makers in North America in figuring out what further research needs to be done, and what strategies might or might not be useful in reducing future mortality," says King. "And as efforts are made to increase access to prescription opioids outside of North America, our findings might be useful in preventing other countries from following the same path as the U.S. and Canada."

The results of this research are published in the American Journal of Public Health,


Contact: Cynthia Lee
McGill University

Related medicine news :

1. Opioid overdose prevention programs may reduce deaths, reports Journal of Addiction Medicine
2. Risk of death highest following surgery in afternoons, at weekends, and in February
3. In-store clinics, telemedicine and the death of windfall malpractice judgments
4. Molecule acts as umpire to make tough life-or-death calls
5. Sepsis involved in high percentage of hospital deaths
6. Biomarker test for Peripartum Cardiomyopathy could help reduce death after giving birth
7. Next frontier: How can modern medicine help dying patients achieve a good death?
8. Prevent premature deaths from heart failure, urges the Heart Failure Association
9. Released prisoners are more likely to suffer early death
10. Regular doctor visits may greatly diminish skin cancer deaths
11. Medication does not lower risk of fungal infection, death among ELBW infants
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... center software Q-Suite, announces the incorporation of Asterisk 11 LTS (Long Term Support) ... supported Asterisk 11 LTS brings Q-Suite 5.10 up-to-date with a version of Asterisk ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also ... buy during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to ... Internet high and low to find the best massage chair deals, they can see ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... Express Travel Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers travelers, value and ... destination wedding packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin upgrades and special ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... NE (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs ... searched by healthcare professionals and offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group ... during the month of October 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... second medical opinion process, participated in the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The ... and took place Sunday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... november 2015 AAIPharma Services Corp./Cambridge ... investering aan van ten minste $15,8 miljoen ... het mondiale hoofdkantoor in Wilmington, ... in extra kantoorruimte en extra capaciteit voor ... behoeften van de farmaceutische en biotechnologische markten. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... --> --> Juntendo University ... contrast weighting of MRI for patients with Multiple Sclerosis ... agreement with SyntheticMR in order to use SyMRI in clinical ... to generate multiple contrast images from a single scan and ... making it possible to both fine tune images and recreate ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ... Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" ... --> --> This new ... Japanese therapeutic drug monitoring market, including emerging tests, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: