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Cases & Commentaries
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Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, and Joshua A. Hirsch, MD; September 2013
Hospitalized for pneumonia and asthma, a man with chronic pain was found to be using pain medications not prescribed to him. During his hospitalization, the pain service was consulted and changed his medications to better control the pain. Five days after discharge, the patient died, presumably from an unintentional overdose of his old and new prescriptions.
MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; January 18, 2008.
This announcement provides information on a recall of heparin vials due to negative reactions reported with certain batches of the medication.
Journal Article > Study
Meara E, Horwitz JR, Powell W, et al. N Engl J Med. 2016;375:44-53.
Growing rates of opioid misuse endanger public health. The impact of legal restrictions to limit high-risk prescribing and resultant adverse events is unclear. One recent study found that opioid-related adverse events were effectively reduced in states with stringent prescription drug monitoring programs compared to states without such regulations. However, this study examined data regarding Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities before and after adoption of controlled-substance laws and found no significant decrease in rates of nonfatal overdose, high opioid doses, or receipt of opioids from four or more prescribers. These results suggest that current regulatory policy may not be sufficient to address high-risk prescribing practices among Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities. More work is needed to develop effective strategies to treat chronic pain safely in this high-risk population. A WebM&M commentary described risks related to prescribing opioids for patients with chronic pain.