Tag Archives | opioid

What Can a Surgeon Do to Prevent Opioid Abuse

An interesting article titled “The Surgeon’s Roles in Stemming the Prescription Opioid Abuse Epidemic” written by James Hupp appears in the 2016 Journal of Oral and Maxilofacial Surgery (vol. 74, pp. 1291-1293). The article describes the current challenges oral and maxilofacial surgeons are facing when it comes to prescribing opioids. This is because regulators and politicians are getting involved due to their perception of an opioid abuse problem. He mentions that Congress is considering legislation to address prescription drug addiction problems. The author wants surgeons to remember that there are legitimate reasons for giving patients who have had oral surgery such as wisdom tooth extractions an opioid medication.  Pain that interferes with a patient’s usual routines, their ability to consume enough fluids and calories, or their ability to sleep often requires a narcotic until the pain subsidizes. As such these patients should be prescribed opioids and surgeons ability to do so should not be taken away. Even so the author encourages surgeons to raise one’s threshold for using very potent narcotics, and potentially limit the number of doses prescribed to patients. In the article the author says “First, there is more and more data showing that many patients receive more potent and more doses of opioid medications than they need […]

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Painkiller Overdose in Michigan: Are Wisdom Teeth Extractions Contributing?

Before on this blog I have talked about how oral surgeons prescribe powerful painkillers for use after wisdom teeth removal. It is possible some of these painkillers are instead used for non-medical use. See the posts http://blog.teethremoval.com/comparing-narcotic-prescribing-habits-for-oral-surgeons-in-the-u-s-and-canada/ and http://blog.teethremoval.com/do-oral-surgeons-prescribe-too-many-narcotics-for-use-after-wisdom-teeth-removal/. An interesting article titled “Synder officials take on painkiller overdose ‘epidemic’” located at  http://www.detroitnews.com/story/life/wellness/2015/10/12/prescriptions/73798342/ and written by Gary Heinlein and Joel Kurth, discusses a surge in overdose deaths in Michigan linked to the abuse of pain and anxiety medications (Oct. 12, 2015). One of the cases describe how a man’s addiction to painkillers was aided by a 30-day prescription for Vicodin after his wisdom teeth extraction. The article states “The state’s health department has said overdose deaths linked to opioids were increasing at a faster rate than for illegal drugs such as heroin — also on the rise — and cocaine. A state report also noted that another class of medications called benzodiazepines — prescribed for anxiety — accounted for about 9 percent of deaths.” The governor of Michigan Rick Snyder has created a task force to explore the issue of painkiller overdose deaths. The drugs included those such as fentanyl, codeine and hydrocodone, or brand names such as OxyContin, Demerol and Vicodin. The article later says “According […]

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