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Pain relieving opioids propel drug overdose, cause millions of deaths: Research

Even though there are recommendations to not use non-opioids, a study has revealed that drug overdose spate is largely propelled by opioids, and it looks like that doctors continue to advise it for relief from chronic pain.


  |  Updated On : June 13, 2017 01:03 PM
Opioid

Opioid

New Delhi :  

Even though there are recommendations to not use non-opioids, a study has revealed that drug overdose spate is largely propelled by opioids, and it looks like that doctors continue to advise it for relief from chronic pain.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse observes that the rise of illegally manufactured synthetic opioids including fentanyl, carfentanil and their equivalents represents a boom in the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic. Also, prescription opioid misuse is also major risk factor for heroin use, as 80 percent of heroin users first misuse prescription opioids. Researchers wanted to discern and understand the relation between pain and the abuse of opioids and the circuits in the brain that may be behind this link.

First author of the study Adrianne Wilson-Poe from the Washington University in Saint Louis said that the team has shown that the brain's natural opioid system is radically altered by the presence of pain and these changes may very well provide a lot of difficulty of treating long term pain with opioids. 

Wilson-Poe further said that when it comes to pain's effect on the brain, a lot more research is required and for that more grant funding will be required to completely understand the extremely complicated relationship between pain and drug abuse.Researchers noted that without a basic knowledge how pain induces changes in the brain and how the brain adapts or interacts with subsequent drug exposure, investigators are simply just fishing for solutions to the opioid crisis.

Dr. Wilson-Poe stated that their work was attacking this problem head-on by meticulously characterising the methods involved in pain, addiction, and the interaction between them.

The researchers noted that they see a future, where chronic pain is considered a disease, not merely a symptom of some other biological development. The review stresses that opioids are the most powerful painkillers known to man, and their continued use in the treatment of severe pain is unavoidable however, the treatment by opioids in the future must appear very different from how it does.

The 2016 guideline by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention that advocates using non-opioids for most cases of chronic pain, and using the lowest possible dose when prescribing opioids, and safeguarding patients who are treated with opioids by closely monitoring them.  This research has been published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. 

First Published: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 12:52 PM

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