Navigation Links
Oxycontin, Other Opioid Painkillers Tied to Higher Health Risks

MONDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies suggest that Medicare patients who take opioid painkillers such as codeine, Vicodin or Oxycontin face higher health risks, including death, heart problems or fractures, compared to those taking non-opioid analgesics.

However, it's not clear if the painkillers are directly responsible for the differences in risk, experts said, and other factors could play a role. And one pain specialist who's familiar with the findings said they don't reflect the experiences of doctors who've prescribed the drugs.

In one study, researchers examined a database of Medicare recipients in two states who were prescribed one of five kinds of opiod painkillers from 1996-2005. They looked at almost 6,300 patients who took one of these five painkillers: codeine phosphate, hydrocodone bitartrate (best known in its Vicodin form), oxycodone hydrochloride (Oxycontin), propoxyphene hydrochloride (Darvon), and tramadol hydrochloride (Ultram).

Those who took codeine were 1.6 times more likely to have suffered from cardiovascular problems after 180 days, while patients on hydrocodone seemed to be at higher risk of fractures than those who took tramadol and propoxyphene.

After 30 days, those who took oxycodone were 2.4 times more likely to die than those taking hydrocodone, and codeine users were twice as likely to die, although the number of deaths was small.

The study authors caution that their findings are surprising in some ways and need to be confirmed by further research.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Russell K. Portenoy, chairman of the department of pain medicine and palliative care at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, said that the findings are of limited value because many other factors could explain the differences between the drugs, such as how fast physicians ramped up the doses of patients.

"I would suggest that readers note this as an observation and wait for the next set of studies to try to figure out if there's any reality in there in terms of risk," he said.

A second study published in the same issue of the journal compared opioid painkillers against non-opioid analgesics, and found that patient "adverse events" were more likely when an opioid was taken.

A team led by Dr. Damiel H. Solomon of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, compared the safety of opioids against non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, which include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen) and "coxib" drugs such as Celebrex (celecoxib). They tracked outcomes for almost 13,000 Medicare recipients who took such pain relievers between 1999 and 2005.

The Boston team found that patients on opioids had higher rates of adverse events generally than did people taking an NSAID or a coxib drug. For example, 101 of every 1,000 prescription opioid users suffered a fracture in a given year versus 19 of every 1,000 people taking another type of painkiller. Coxibs and opioids were also associated with a higher risk for cardiac events compared to NSAID use, the team found.

What to do if you're taking an opioid? "There's no question that opioid drugs carry important risks," Portenoy said. "If you have chronic pain, your doctor should optimize the dosing and be managing the risk: not only the risk of side effects and toxicities but also the risk of things like drug abuse."

More information

There's more on painkillers at the U.S. National Library of Medicine .

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: Russell K. Portenoy, M.D., chairman, department of pain medicine and palliative care, Beth Israel Medical Center; New York City; Dec. 13/27, 2010, Archives of Internal Medicine;

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New York Truck Driver Watching Porn Kills Mother, Appalls Personal Injury Lawyers Such As David Perecman
2. California IVF Discount/Rebate Program Eases Risk for Older Mothers
3. Announces Biggest Losers Contest - Share Your Story To Inspire Others
4. Six Other E. colis Could Be Lurking In Your Valentine Days Dinner
5. Virtual reality and other technologies offer hope
6. Another Study Refutes Vaccination-Autism Link
7. Most Americans Think Its Others Who Are Unhealthy
8. Transitions Championship Announces Strongest Field to Date and a Vision Like No Other on the PGA TOUR(R)
9. 29 Clear Channel stations Nationwide Raise Nearly $2.8 Million to Help Save the Lives of Kids Fighting Cancer and Other Deadly Diseases
10. Split-course palliative radiotherapy confirmed as effective treatment for advanced NSCLC
11. “Hearts and Minds” Education Program Launched: On Average, People with Mental illness Live 25 Years Less than Other Americans
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Oxycontin, Other Opioid Painkillers Tied to Higher Health Risks
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the toilets were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch diseases ... cover so that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He developed ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed ... 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or ... to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the needs of advisers ... solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. However, there's always ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap and Dr. ... Tucker Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health System’s Santa Rosa Memorial ... conditions present in similar ways and require time-critical intervention to avoid large area heart ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also think Holiday sales and start ... and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to receive the best pricing on ... find the best massage chair deals, they can see all of the coupons in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ... Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application ... Forecast to 2020" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ) ... "Global Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" ... ) has announced the addition of ... 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... ) has announced the addition of the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... OAKS, Calif. , Nov. 25, 2015  Amgen ... a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the ... (FDA) for ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to Humira ... first adalimumab biosimilar application submitted to the FDA and ... pathway. Sean E. Harper , M.D., executive ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: