A number of news articles have come out recently related to the opioid painkiller epidemic and efforts to stop it, including alternative therapies. Here’s a roundup of the latest news:
- Long-term opioid use could depend on the doctor who first prescribed it (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2017) A new study of Medicare patients showed that emergency room doctors aren’t consistent in how often they prescribe opioids to treat pain in older people. The study found that patients who first saw an ER doctor with a tendency to prescribe opioids more often were 30 percent more likely to become long-term opioid users.
- Lower back ache? Be active and wait it out, new guidelines say (New York Times, Feb. 13, 2017) New guidelines from the American College of Physicians recommend against prescribing opioid painkillers for back pain and instead try alternatives to drugs such as “exercise, acupuncture, massage therapy or yoga.”
- Doctors are using alternatives to addictive opioids to help patients deal with pain (Baltimore Sun, Feb. 17, 2017) Doctors are finding new ways to treat post-surgical and other pain to avoid prescribing the addictive drugs. Alternatives mentioned include changes in surgical procedures to ease recovery, regenerative medicine, nerve blocks and physical therapy.
- Minnesota hopes stark opioid ad saves lives (Star Tribune, Feb. 13, 2017) Minnesota has joined Wisconsin’s “Dose of Reality” media campaign, which aims to prevent opioid abuse.