Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prescription Pain Patch Abuse Blamed For Increase In Deaths

Date:
July 1, 2005
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
Drug abusers are increasingly turning to a slow-release form of a powerful painkiller for a quick and dangerous high, University of Florida researchers warn. The trend is raising alarm as the number of people dying from an overdose of the drug fentanyl, an opioid 100 times more potent than morphine, rises.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Drug abusers are increasingly turning to a slow-release form of a powerful painkiller for a quick and dangerous high, University of Florida researchers warn. The trend is raising alarm as the number of people dying from an overdose of the drug fentanyl, an opioid 100 times more potent than morphine, rises.

Related Articles


Addicts are misusing a clear patch that transfers a controlled dose of fentanyl through the skin into the bloodstream over the course of a few days, UF experts say. The adhesive patch is typically prescribed to treat postoperative pain or chronic pain conditions, but in some cases is being misused, often with deadly consequences.

"Because the patch is a sustained release form of the drug, if one withdraws the 72 hours' worth of drug and uses it in a form that it wasn't designed to be used for, then it can rapidly result in death," said the study's lead researcher, Bruce Goldberger, director of toxicology and an associate professor in the departments of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine and psychiatry in UF's College of Medicine.

Patients who are prescribed the patch must be made aware of the potential dangers of misuse, Goldberger added.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records cited in the UF study, presented this month in Orlando at the annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, show abuse of the patch resulted in the death of 115 people in Florida last year.

While the number of fatalities linked to the patch is still one-quarter the number associated with other drugs abused, such as methadone or hydrocodone, the number of sudden deaths from overdosing on fentanyl has been on the rise during the past few years -- not just in Florida but also nationwide, researchers found.

"We have seen an increased use and abuse of the patch form of fentanyl for the past five years or so," Goldberger said. "This is a recent finding related to the prescription of fentanyl patches."

In many cases, people who died from overdosing on the drug were able to easily remove the full dose of fentanyl from the patch and take the entire three-day amount at once, either by injecting, ingesting or smoking it.

In some cases, the deceased sought a state of euphoria by applying multiple patches simultaneously.

It is not always clear from the law enforcement records where people who overdosed obtained the drug, whether from a prescription of their own or from one that had been stolen or otherwise not used according to doctor's instructions, the group reported.

"Oftentimes we don't know where the patch comes from. Sometimes it is from someone who had a prescription or it was purchased on the street or acquired from a friend, so it has been diverted to them," Goldberger said.

Goldberger's team, which includes Dr. Mark Gold, a distinguished professor with UF's McKnight Brain Institute and chief of the division of addiction medicine, has been focused on the use and abuse of prescription drugs. In the past few years his team has seen increased abuse of methadone, and now fentanyl.

"Based on our study we're recommending that physicians better educate their patients on the use of the patch, and, as a result, we might see lower numbers in fentanyl-related deaths in the state of Florida," Goldberger said.

Dr. Albert Ray, medical director of Pain Medicine Solutions in Miami and a past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, said that the UF study brings necessary attention to the importance of physician and patient education regarding addictive disorders.

"There is nothing wrong with the patch, the problem is with addictive disorders," Ray said. "Any drug has the potential for abuse. This study is useful for raising awareness of the need for educating prescribing physicians on the importance of screening and monitoring their patients for addictive disorders in order to help decrease the abuse of the patch."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Prescription Pain Patch Abuse Blamed For Increase In Deaths." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701065231.htm>.
University Of Florida. (2005, July 1). Prescription Pain Patch Abuse Blamed For Increase In Deaths. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701065231.htm
University Of Florida. "Prescription Pain Patch Abuse Blamed For Increase In Deaths." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701065231.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins