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Surgery Often a Gateway to Opioid Abuse, Study Confirms

Surgery is a common gateway to opioid misuse that can put patients at risk of an overdose.

That's the conclusion of a new analysis of data from nearly 14,000 adults who had surgery between 2013 and 2019 at UCLA hospitals. All were opioid-naive, meaning they had not filled a prescription for an opioid painkiller for up to one year before their surgery.

Afterward, they were prescribe...

Drug Makers Reach $26 Billion Deal on Opioid Lawsuits

A proposed $26 billion settlement on opioid-related lawsuits has been reached with four large drug companies, a group of state attorneys general announced Wednesday.

If enough states sign on to the deal with the country's three major drug distributors -- Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and McKesson -- and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, the companies could be released from all ...

Opioids After Dental Work May Be Dangerous

Getting a prescription for an opioid painkiller from your dentist could put you or your family at risk for an overdose, a new study warns.

The finding is based on an analysis of data from 8.5 million Americans who had teeth pulled or 119 other types of dental work between 2011 and 2018. All had Medicaid or private dental insurance.

"Our paper shows that when patients fill dental opi...

Avoiding Pain and Addiction After Sports-Injury Surgery

With opioid addiction soaring in the United States, it should come as good news that an opioid painkiller may not be needed after a sports-injury repair.

A mix of non-addictive medicines may be safer and equally successful in managing pain after shoulder or knee surgery, a study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit indicates.

Concerned about the opioid abuse epidemic, doctors...

1 in 10 Americans Uses a Prescription Painkiller: CDC

Americans continue to look to the medicine cabinet for pain relief, with 1 in 10 using some type of prescription painkiller, a new U.S. government report says.

But use of prescription opioid painkillers leveled off from 2015 to 2018, while prescriptions for nonopioid pain meds rose, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This surv...

1 in 4 Opioid ODs Involves Kids and Teens

More than a quarter of all opioid overdoses in the United States involve teenagers, and a full fifth of those cases were likely suicide attempts, new research shows.

The findings follow an in-depth analysis of nearly 754,000 American opioid poisoning cases that occurred between 2005 and 2018. All had been reported to the U.S. National Poison Data System. An...

Obamacare May Have Prevented Many Opioid-Related Deaths

The Medicaid expansion brought in by Obamacare may have prevented thousands of deaths from opioid overdoses, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that in U.S. states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, fatal opioid overdoses dipped by 6%, compared to states that opted out. That included an 11% lower death rate from heroin overdoses, and a 10...

Gabapentin, Opioids a Deadly Duo: FDA

New warnings about the risk of dangerous breathing difficulties when gabapentinoids are used with opioids or by certain patients must now appear on product labels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.

Serious breathing problems that can lead to death can occur in patients who use gabapentinoids with prescription opioid painkillers or other drugs that depress the c...

Opioid Overdose Deaths Quadruple, Centered in 8 States

U.S. opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled in the last two decades, and the highest rates are now seen in eight Eastern states, a new study shows.

Those states are: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire and Ohio.

The researchers also found that the death rate from opioids has increased the fastest in the District of Columbia, more tha...

Making OxyContin 'Tamper Proof' Helped Spread Hepatitis C

An effort to make the opioid painkiller OxyContin harder to abuse drove addicted patients to heroin and caused a dramatic increase in hepatitis C, a new study suggests.

In a classic case of unintended consequences, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma reformulated its powerful and popular drug OxyContin for the right reasons. It became harder to crush or dissolve, thus making it harder to...