Software Provider Pushed Opioid Prescriptions On Doctors

A company that provided electronic patient records made a secret deal with the opioid prescribers to recommend opioid prescriptions to doctors. Your medical record is just between you and your doctor, right? Not necessarily. According to an investigation by Bloomberg News, your doctor is allowed to share information with pharmaceutical companies and others involved with your treatment. For a software maker called Practice Fusion, this was a goldmine to be exploited and push unneeded treatments on patients with pain. Millions of Prescriptions Possibly Created The software was used by tens of thousands of doctors’offices and was designed specifically by the request of an opioid manufacturer.  Doctors used the software to get treatment plan recommendations and an alert would pop up every time a person’s medical file met certain pain criteria. The software could then prescribe a “treatment plan” including opioids for months on end. Practice Fusion set a loose algorithm to recommend opioids to certain patients experiencing both short-term and chronic pain. It total, the software sent an alert…

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Hydromorph Contin Causing Heart Damage, Infections

Four years ago, the Ontario government decided to ban the use of Oxycontin, hoping to stop the pattern of increased opioid addiction in the province. Unfortunately, like every place banning Oxy, the medical profession needed another drug to take its place. Today, it appears that the drug most used is Hydromorph Contin. And now doctors say it’s causing deadly heart infections. What is Hydromorph Contin? Hydromorphone Contin is chemically similar to Oxycontin, but it’s meant to be harder to abuse, and it’s formulated mostly for people experiencing severe, acute pain such as those from accidents like car crashes or cancer. The drugs itself was designed to deter abuse and prevent injection by turning into a thick, gel-like substance when exposed to water. How Are People Getting Hurt? Unfortunately, if there is a will, there’s a way, especially when it comes to people with addiction finding new ways to use their drug of choice. Authorities say addicted persons looking to get their fix have discovered a dangerous workaround for Hydromorph…

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Lucemyra: FDA Approves New Medication-Assisted Treatment

Lucemyra has been on the market in the UK to assist with opioid withdrawal symptoms for about twenty years, but its use in the US has only just been approved. The FDA cleared the drug last Wednesday via fast-track to give American doctors another tool for fighting the opioid epidemic. Lucemyra alone is not to be considered treatment for opioid use disorder, the FDA says. However, clinical trials prove that it can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms that patients experience when they cease opioid use completely. This can give a person with an opioid use disorder a lifeline to help them get clean once and for all. Combined with therapy, 12-step programs and other tools, Lucemyra can help people find their way to recovery without the torment of many withdrawal symptoms. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says that this makes the drug an important tool that warranted quick approval. "The physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be one of the biggest barriers for patients seeking help and ultimately…

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Sublocade, New Med FDA-Approved for Opioid Abuse Disorder

Last week, the FDA announced approval of a once-a-month drug, Sublocade, for individuals with an opioid use disorder who need drug-assisted treatment to get and stay clean. For people suffering from the opiate-related disorders, there are just a few options for drug-related therapy to help them reduce cravings and stay clean. Suboxone and methadone have been the most available forms, but each has its drawbacks, including the fact that methadone is regulated in a way that means it must usually be dispensed just a dosage at a time. Missing a dosage can cause awful withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Even something as simple as inclement weather such as snow can make it difficult for drug treatment clients to get the medication they need. Suboxone has become popular because it has fewer drawbacks, with one of the main complaints being that a person prescribed the pill must be consistent with its dosage, taking it once a day, at the same time every day. This is why Sublocade, just approved by the…

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Insurance Giant Cigna to Halt Coverage for Oxycontin

Cigna health insurance, the fourth largest insurer in the US company with over 11,400,000 members, has taken what is seen as a drastic step in the fight against opioid addiction. Effective in January, the insurance giant will effectively stop covering the cost of use of the opioid OxyContin. While many in the addiction treatment profession have lauded this change, it’s important to look more carefully at what’s really going on. At the same time that Cigna announced they would no longer be providing coverage for Oxycontin, the company also announced a contract to continue covering a competing oxycodone alternative by the name of Xtampza ER. The contract includes a financial penalty on that drug's maker if Cigna discovers the drug is overprescribed or there are other patterns indicating the drug has become a drug of abuse. Because of this stipulation, the manufacturer also has more motivation to monitor sales and look for areas of abuse and high prescription rates. Cigna's announcement comes just a year after the insurer said…

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Addiction Treatment Under AHCA

Five hundred thousand Americans have died from opioid addiction in the last 15 years According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The amount of deaths is four times that of the previous fifteen years. This an American crisis of addiction to opioids and the problem is only getting worse.  Because of this increase in use of opioids the issue has made it's way into the forefront of American policy. Financial Dilemma Meanwhile, with the growing number of addicts, the availability of resources for recovery become less attainable and more costly. This creates a new financial dilemma that is hanging over the heads of the addicts in our communities and puts  pressure onto the policy makers in government. Lack of Coverage The severity of these issues then brings into question the Trump Era’s health care policies and his team’s ability to confront this epidemic. The forecast is grim considering this new administration’s policy towards the healthcare of Americans. There is a substantial lack of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and…

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California Fights Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse has become a serious problem in the U.S. and California is leading the way in putting this to a stop. Most people do not realize how much of a problem prescription drug abuse has really become. Our lives are busy and no one wants to complicate theirs by thinking about something that does not directly affect them. A person addicted to prescription drugs did not intend to get that way. Sure, they started out following the doctor’s orders, but when the pain came back earlier or the anxiety just would not go away, it was too easy to take another pill. These people would tell themselves that it would get better tomorrow while in reality they compounded their problems by taking more pills and depending on an artificial crutch to get them through the day, the week, and even the month. Eventually, people who abuse prescription drugs have to get more pills from their doctor or from another doctor. The situation can escalate as their body…

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Opana: The New Painkiller of Choice to Abuse

Oxymorphone, known most commonly as Opana, is a powerful painkiller of the opioid variety that is available in extended-release and instant-release form. Opana is a Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning it has approved medicinal qualities but also has a high potential for abuse. Opana is a very long lasting drug, which is another reason why people are choosing to abuse it instead of other prescription painkillers. Opana, when injected by its abusers, can be responsible for causing a fatal blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This disorder, which may result in kidney failure and death, imposes a limit on blood flow to organs by forming clots that form in small blood vessels. However, kidney failure is not the only risk that is carried with this disorder. The disorder also causes a person to be at a higher risk for getting a stroke or brain damage. As the popularity of prescription painkiller abuse has risen, more people now die from prescription drug abuse than from heroin and…

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OxyContin: The Crouching Tiger

The abuse of prescription drugs like OxyContin by the younger generation is a growing concern for society. The drug gives the user a sense of euphoria, replacing anxiety with sleepy relaxation -- a relaxed high if you will. One out of ten seniors in high school seniors have admitted to using narcotic painkillers to get high, and when it comes to OxyContin, the number seems to be increasing among the youth. The drug provides an experience that is attracting an increasing amount of users. It is looked at as a "party" drug instead of an extremely addictive substance. The public’s flawed belief in what an addict looks and acts like is thought to be a factor in the growing number OxyContin users and its acceptance among the younger population. One of the especially troubling things about this addiction is the ease of use for the addicts; the fact that the effects are not immediately noticeable. As a result, the young people who are using it don’t see the harmful…

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Newborn Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal

One of the saddest facts about prescription drug abuse is that a pregnant mother who abuses medicine will pass the effects to her unborn child. Unfortunately, it has become more and more common for newborn babies to be born addicted to prescription medications like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. The Los Angeles Times reports that in 2009, more than 13,500 infants were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS); this translates to approximately one such birth every hour. A recent New York Times article tells the story of one child that was only a few days old and had to be placed on methadone because his withdrawal symptoms were so severe. His mother abused OxyContin in the early stages of her pregnancy without her doctor's knowledge. She tried to quit while pregnant but became so ill that the survival of her unborn child was in doubt. Her doctor prescribed methadone for the duration of her pregnancy. After his birth, her son was placed on the same drug. Babies that are born…

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