Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Painkiller prescribing varies dramatically among family physicians

Date:
March 15, 2011
Source:
St. Michael's Hospital
Summary:
Some physicians are prescribing opioids such as OxyContin 55 times as often as others, according to a new study. The study found most opioid-related deaths occur among patients treated by physicians who frequently prescribe opioids, suggesting doctors who prescribe a lot of opioids may not be doing so safely.

Some physicians are prescribing opioids such as OxyContin 55 times as often as others, according to a new study led by St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). The study found most opioid-related deaths occur among patients treated by physicians who frequently prescribe opioids, suggesting doctors who prescribe a lot of opioids may not be doing so safely.

Related Articles


"We found that the 20 per cent of family doctors who are frequent prescribers wrote 55 times as many prescriptions as the 20 per cent of family doctors who prescribe opioids the least. This large variation in practice is concerning," says Dr. Irfan Dhalla, a general internist at St. Michael's Hospital and an adjunct scientist at ICES.

The study, published in the March edition of the journal Canadian Family Physician, examined opioid prescribing rates among family physicians in Ontario. Researchers found doctors who frequently prescribe opioids are also more likely to write the patient's final prescription before death.

"Family physicians are caught in the middle. On the one hand, there are many patients suffering terribly from chronic pain who can't get relief from other treatments. On the other hand, the evidence for long-term treatment with opioids is very weak," says St. Michael's family physician Dr. Philip Berger. "If the drugs were safe, it wouldn't be an issue. But unfortunately they do carry significant risks -- most notably addiction and death from overdose. And it is important to recognize that one reason opioids are prescribed so often is that the pharmaceutical industry has marketed these drugs very aggressively."

Deaths related to opioids in Ontario have more than doubled -- from 13.7 deaths per million residents in 1991 to 33.3 deaths per million residents in 2006. Of the 423 deaths that occurred in 2006, oxycodone -- the active ingredient in OxyContin -- was the opioid most frequently associated with an overdose death.

In 2010, the provincial government passed the Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act, which will enable the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to better track opioid prescribing in Ontario.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Michael's Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

St. Michael's Hospital. "Painkiller prescribing varies dramatically among family physicians." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314152925.htm>.
St. Michael's Hospital. (2011, March 15). Painkiller prescribing varies dramatically among family physicians. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314152925.htm
St. Michael's Hospital. "Painkiller prescribing varies dramatically among family physicians." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314152925.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