Chronic Pain — 22 September 2013

By Pat Anson, Editor

The prescribing of opioid painkillers by doctors in the United States has nearly doubled over the past decade, according to a large new study that also found the use of safer alternatives for pain treatment was flat or declining.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed a nationwide database of outpatient visits to doctors’ offices from 2000 to 2010. About 20% of the visits involved a primary diagnosis of pain.

“The overall prevalence of patient-reported pain has not changed during the past decade, although providers’ diagnoses of pain as a primary complaint nearly doubled,” said G. Caleb Alexander, MD, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness.

“Despite greater recognition of pain by providers and a remarkable increase in opioid prescribing, there was no commensurate increase in the prescribing of non-opioid therapies. This is particularly important because of the variety of alternative pharmacologic treatments available to treat nonmalignant pain.”

Read more at National Pain Report.

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About Author

Pat Anson, Editor

Pat is Editor in Chief of American News Report. He is a veteran journalist and a former correspondent and producer for HealthWeek (PBS), Nightly Business Report (PBS) and other nationally syndicated shows. Pat has won numerous journalism awards, including a Golden Mike award for investigative reporting.

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