Pain is the most common reason patients seek health care in the United States. Use of opioids, steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and other analgesics has significantly increased in recent years with opioid prescriptions alone increasing by 60% from 2000 to 2010. Such treatment can be costly and may cause medication dependence and potential abuse.
On June 3rd and 4th, 2015, Samueli Institute hosted its first learning session as part of a breakthrough collaborative to address how chronic pain is managed in today’s heath care system. Eight health care organizations joined Samueli Institute’s leadership team and expert faculty to embark on a seven-month journey to embrace improvements in person-centered chronic pain management. Continue reading “Working Group Tackles Chronic Pain Care as Part of Samueli Institute’s Breakthrough Collaborative Series” »
Chronic pain is disabling and a major cause of lost work productivity, increased medical costs and decreased quality of life. It is a far-reaching and complex problem challenging individuals, their families and society at large.
Current management typically consists of prescription medications or provider-based, behavioral or interventional procedures.
Stricter Rules on their Way
Starting this month hydrocodone, the most commonly prescribed painkiller in the U.S., falls under stricter rules in an effort to combat prescription drug abuse.[i] This shows a shift towards changing how pain is managed and a move to reduce street access to hydrocodone-related drugs like Vicodin.
For those suffering with pain, what are the alternatives? Continue reading “A Closer Look at Chronic Pain Treatments” »
While painkillers are an essential tool in care and treatment of injured patients, two studies released this week reveal an urgent need to rethink their use in our military and civilian health care systems and invest in a broader tool set to help patients mitigate chronic pain.
In a study released in JAMA Internal Medicine on June 30, Dr. Toblin and co-authors revealed that in one of the Army’s leading units 44 percent of the soldiers had chronic pain and 15 percent regularly used opioids. These rates are much higher than the general civilian population (26 and 4 percent respectively) and underscore a crisis in chronic pain among our service members and an overreliance on drugs to mitigate that pain.
The issue extends to the civilian population at large. Just a few days after the JAMA Internal Medicine report on opioid use in the military, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report on opioid use in the U.S. that found physicians wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012—enough for every adult in the country to clutch a bottle of pills.
Continue reading “Painkillers: The “Fast Food” of Pain Relief” »