Pain Killing Drug Abuse Causing Increase In Visits To The ER

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report the number of visits to the hospital emergency room visits for treatment tied to the abuse of prescription painkillers have increased by 111% over a five year period.  US researchers say the increase is so alarming that it is beginning to pose a virtual threat to the American public health system.
Apparently, mounting abuse of prescription pain killing drugs is responsible for the rise in ER visits.  OxyContin, one of the most abused pain killing medications has been responsible for around 305,885 visits to the emergency room in 2008, a 152% increase from the total number of 144,644 visits in 2004, according to the CDC and SAMHSA study.
It is commonly known that young children are raiding their parents’ medicine cabinets to get at these pills, including many people who have not used up all their prescription pills are selling them, and which are making their way into non-medical use.
Experts are deeply concerned about the trend’s impact on the health of the general public, as Peter Delany, Director, Office of Applied Studies at SAMHSA told HealthDay, increasing availability of pain killing prescription drugs responsible for the trend, is also likely to give momentum to it.
The spike in ER visits associated with non-medical use of these pain killing prescription drugs occurred among men and women, including those younger than 21 and older than 21 years of age.
Morphine, fentanyl and hydromorphone drug abuse resulted in fewer emergency room visits, though a study published in the CDC’s weekly of death and disease, reported they had also increased sharply.
Researchers believe the increase could be partly due to a higher number of prescriptions for pain killing medications being written by doctors in the USA.
The three most abused prescription pain drugs between 2004 and 2008 were found to be:
·         Oxycodone, which witnessed a 152% increase in non-medical use emergency room visits to 105,214.
·         Hydrocodone, whose emergency room visits rose 123% to 89,051.
·         Methadone that saw a 73% increase in emergency visits to 63,629.
In other news, Deborah Kotz from US News reports the controversial new drug touted to be the female equivalent of Viagra for males and designed to increase sexual desire in women, has not shown any significant results in boosting women’s desire in two clinical trials.
The Us Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff, who reviewed the results said the response rate of flibanserin, as the new drug is called was not ‘particularly compelling’.  The FDA’s advisory panel will be voting, as to whether or not flibanserin should be recommended for FDA’s approval.
However, drug manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim posting a statement on its website, maintains flibanserin is effective, while acknowledging it increases a woman’s ‘global desire’, rather than ‘the intensity of her acute episodes of desire’, the phrasing suggesting the drug’s effects are .