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By Alan Mozes HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay Information)

Pandemic lockdowns may possibly have led less Us residents to look for agony treatment method final 12 months, but folks who did look for assist had greater-than-normal odds of receiving risky opioid painkillers, a new research states.

And that could guide to a worsening of the opioid epidemic, researchers propose.

“It is possible that much more sufferers may possibly have come to be addicted to opioids than would have been the case absent the pandemic,” explained research guide author Byungkyu Lee, an assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington.

Lee and his workforce tracked treatment method designs for thousands and thousands of sufferers battling with limb, extremity, joint, back again and/or neck agony. They located that prescriptions for hugely addictive opioid prescription drugs like oxycodone (OxyContin) rose three.five% in the course of the initially 50 percent-12 months of the pandemic compared with the prior 12 months — regardless of a sixteen% plummet in agony diagnoses.

That may possibly be simply because, in the facial area of lockdowns, doctors were being much less possible to switch to nonmedicinal treatment plans these as therapeutic massage treatment and other forms of “complementary medication” like acupuncture and osteopathy. Scripts for these approaches fell by six% in the course of the similar time frame.

“A single motive for rising opioid prescriptions in the course of the pandemic is absence of entry to non-pharmacologic treatment plans that demand particular person-to-particular person get hold of,” discussed Lee.

“Prescribing opioids for agony is a quicker and less complicated ‘no-contact’ remedy than actual physical treatment or complementary medication,” he pointed out. “Opioids can be approved by way of telemedicine, for case in point.”

The results were being revealed Dec. ten in JAMA Community Open, just months right after U.S. health and fitness officials claimed drug overdose deaths in the United States improved considerably in the course of the pandemic — leaping just about thirty% from April 2020 to April 2021 compared to the prior 12-month time period.

In the new research, the investigators examined info from two time periods: January by way of September 2019 and January by way of September 2020 (like the initially six months of the pandemic).

About 21 million sufferers were being integrated in each and every time period. In all, the investigation lined about a fifth of Us residents with business insurance coverage throughout all 50 states and roughly a quarter of all Medicare Benefit sufferers, the authors explained.

Investigators compared prescription designs from April to September of each and every 12 months.

Not only were being there greater opioid prescription prices in the course of the pandemic, but they were being at greater doses — roughly equal to an extra 1. morphine milligrams. Also, prescriptions were being composed for much more than just one working day for a longer period, on common, than pre-pandemic.

Even so, Lee explained it really is as well soon to say if these prescription shifts will demonstrate extensive-long lasting.

A single agony professional explained we need to not lose aim on other forms of managing continual agony.

“Around-reliance on opioids in the course of the pandemic may possibly present a challenge likely ahead,” pointed out Dr. Yili Huang, director of agony management at Northwell Health’s Phelps Medical center in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

“Even so, the main concern right here is how do we assure that we do not lose entry to important agony treatment plans in the course of a pandemic,” explained Huang, who was not concerned in the research.

Lee pointed out that nonopioid solutions “will possible continue to be inaccessible for quite a few sufferers simply because of aspects these as price, underinsurance, absence of transportation, absence of boy or girl treatment, or inability to take time off function.” In simple terms, he explained, that signifies Black and Hispanic sufferers, poorer sufferers and these in rural locations will keep on being much less possible to get non-drug-centered alternatives.

Huang, meanwhile, struck an optimistic observe, suggesting “the narrative and knowledge of the position of opioids is shifting.

“Individuals and their suppliers are wanting for proper safe alternatives to address their agony,” he pointed out, including telemedicine may possibly assist in that regard.

“I imagine we can master to leverage telehealth to hook up sufferers with good quality agony treatment like never ever before,” even like actual physical treatment by way of the world wide web, Huang explained.

“There are usually selected areas that demand in-particular person treatment method, these as agony strategies,” he explained. “But telehealth can assist bridge the divide.”




SLIDESHOW

Prescription Drug Abuse: Dependancy, Wellbeing Risks, and Treatment options
See Slideshow

Additional details

There is certainly much more on the opioid disaster at the U.S. Facilities for Disorder Management and Avoidance.

Resources: Byungkyu Lee, PhD, assistant professor, sociology, Indiana University Bloomington Yili Huang, DO, MBA, director, agony management, Northwell Health’s Phelps Medical center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. JAMA Community Open, Dec. ten, 2021

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