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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Doctors Prescribe Pain Narcotics for Minor Health Problems

It’s not uncommon for doctors to prescribe pain narcotics for minor health problems these days. In fact, a new study published Academic Emergency Medicine has shown that emergency department doctors wrote 49 percent more prescriptions for opioids in 2010 than in 2001. Many of the reported cases could have been treated with over the counter analgesics.

“In many cases, naproxen, Tylenol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen are the best choices,” Dr. Ryan Stanton, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, told HealthDay. The report's findings are “reflective of the growing use of opiates across the board, not just in emergency medicine.”

George Washington University believes that one or two things are happening in emergency rooms. Doctors are prescribing more opioids in order to ease their patients' pain or doctors are pressured to make patients happy, according to researcher Dr. Jesse Pines.

“Emergency department providers are often caught in a difficult position because some have their pay incentivized based on how patients report their satisfaction with their experience. The intention is always to provide appropriate pain relief, but many patients have come to expect opioids,” Dr. Pines said in a news release. “When patients in pain want opioids, but don’t get them — which is common — they may report a poor experience.”

Whatever the case may be, the United States is in the grips of a prescription narcotic epidemic. There is no question, many doctors are prescribing drugs for ailments that require less attention and this practice is only exacerbating the problem.

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