Monday, November 28, 2011

Adverse Drug Events from Opioid Analgesics

In the United States, the use of opioids (narcotics) (analgesics) as part of pain management systems has contributed to an epidemic of poisoning. Between 1999-2002, the poisoning of opioid analgesics poisoning surpassed cocaine and heroin as the most common type of drug intoxication in death certificates.

The increase in drug intoxication coincides with an increase in the prescription of the main types of opioid analgesics, as physicians were encouraged to prescribe stronger analgesics (ie opioids) for pain management. When sales of opioid analgesics increased occurrences of opioid analgesics on death certificates increased at a similar rate. The overall objective should be to identify ways to reduce deaths from opioid analgesics without diminishing the quality of care of patients with a legitimate need for pain management.

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