Tag Archives: CDC

Prescription drug OD deaths skyrocketing in women: CDC

helpOverdose deaths due to prescription painkillers have been on the rise among all segments of the population, but a new analysis of federal data by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that such deaths have quintupled among women since 1999.

Although more men are still dying of prescription drug overdoses, women are catching up: in the last 14 years, the percentage increase in deaths has been greater for women, spiking by 400% as opposed to 265% for men, the CDC says.

According to the agency, 6,631 women died of opioid overdoses in 2010 — more than twice the number who die from cervical cancer — compared with 10,020 men; in addition, while younger women in their 20s and 30s tend to have the highest rates of opioid abuse, the overdose death rate was highest among women ages 45 to 54.

In 2010, there were more than 200,000 emergency room department visits for misuse of opioids among women, one every three minutes, the CDC says.

Posted in Informational, Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Painkillers over-prescribed to Medicare patients: study

bunchofpillsA new study by the Department of Health and Human Services highlights a variety of problems concerning prescription medication practices among doctors and pharmacies servicing Medicare patients, including over-prescribing, over-billing, and over-medicating.

The review identified more than 2,200 doctors whose records stood out in one of five areas: prescriptions per patient, brand name drugs, painkillers and other addictive drugs or the number of pharmacies that dispensed their orders, according to this article.

More than half of 736 physicians studied wrote prescriptions for extremely high amounts of controlled substances that have the potential for addiction and abuse, the article says.

All told, the drugs ordered by the doctors labeled “extreme outliers” cost Medicare $352 million, according to the study.

In 2008, more than 36,000 people died from drug overdoses, and most of these deaths were caused by prescription drugs, according to the CDC.

Nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers. The unprecedented rise in overdose deaths in the U.S. parallels a 300% increase since 1999 in the sale of these medications, which were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined, the CDC says.

Posted in Informational, Pharmaceutical Industry, Surveys & Statistics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Driven by pills, U.S. death overdose rates doubled since 1999

imgname--prescription_drug_abuse_on_the_rise---38647165--images--flickr_2931207680The rate of reported drug overdoses in the U.S. more than doubled between 1999 and 2010, with about half of the additional deaths falling under the pharmaceuticals category, according to this article in Popular Science. The data, which was compiled from WONDER, the CDC National Center for Health Statistics’ multiple cause of death database, showed that nearly three-quarters of the pharmaceuticals deaths were due to opioid analgesics such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

The CDC recently found that drug overdose deaths increased for the eleventh consecutive year in 2010. According to the agency, 38,329 people died from a drug overdose in the U.S. that year, up from 37,004 deaths in 2009.

Overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics have shown a similar increase, the CDC found: starting with 4,030 deaths in 1999, the number of deaths increased to 15,597 in 2009 and 16,651 in 2010.

In 2010, nearly 60% of the drug overdose deaths (22,134) involved pharmaceutical drugs. Opioid analgesics, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, were involved in about 3 of every 4 pharmaceutical overdose deaths (16,651), according to the CDC.

Posted in Informational, Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing support for painkiller prescription limits: poll

RXA new study has found that 52% of respondents believe doctors should face limits in prescribing potentially addictive pain medications. The survey, conducted by advocacy coalition Research!America, identified widespread anxiety about prescription pain medications, with 85% of respondents expressing concerns that the drugs can be misused. In addition, nearly 50% described prescription drug addiction as a major U.S. health problem, while 63% said they know someone who has taken prescription medication to cope with severe pain, the study found.

Drug fatalities increased 3% in 2010, driven largely by prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers rose to 16,651 in 2010, comprising 43% of all fatal overdoses.

Posted in Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drug fatalities rose 3% in 2010: CDC

imgname--prescription_drug_abuse_on_the_rise---38647165--images--flickr_2931207680Drug fatalities increased 3% in 2010, driven largely by prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers rose to 16,651 in 2010, comprising 43% of all fatal overdoses, according to this article citing the CDC’s research. The article quotes CDC director Tom Frieden as saying about the prescription drug addiction epidemic:

“While most things are getting better in the health world, this isn’t. It’s a big problem, and it’s getting worse.”

He adds:

“The data supporting long-term use of opiates for pain, other than cancer pain, is scant to nonexistent. These are dangerous drugs. They’re not proven to have long-term benefit for non-cancer pain, and they’re being used to the detriment to hundreds of thousands of people in this country.”

In February, the CDC found that drug overdose deaths increased for the 11th consecutive year in 2010, and that most of those deaths were accidents involving addictive painkillers.

Posted in Informational, Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Painkillers drive up drug OD deaths for 11th straight year

pillsoverdoseDrug overdose deaths increased for the 11th consecutive year in 2010, and most of those deaths were accidents involving addictive painkillers, according to new federal data. In 2010, there were 38,329 drug overdose deaths nationwide, and medicines – mostly prescription drugs – were involved in nearly 60 percent of overdose deaths, surpassing deaths from illicit narcotics, according to a study by the CDC published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Opioid drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin were the biggest problem, contributing to 3 out of 4 medication overdose deaths.

Last month, the FDA began considering whether more controls need to be placed on opioid prescribing. The agency is also considering reclassifying hydrocodone-containing painkillers like Vicodin from Schedule III drugs to the more restrictive Schedule II.

Posted in Informational, Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FDA panel backs stricter controls on Vicodin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may be set to reclassify hydrocodone-containing painkillers like Vicodin from Schedule III drugs to the more restrictive Schedule II, with an expert panel voting 19 to 10 in favor of the more stringent prescribing requirements. During a two-day hearing last week, the panel heard testimony from proponents who noted hydrocodone’s abuse potential (such products are currently the most-abused prescription medicine behind oxycodone), while critics argued that the move would hinder legitimate pain patients from obtaining treatment.

The FDA usually, but not always, follows the advice of its advisory panels.

The misuse of prescription painkillers was responsible for more than 475,000 emergency department visits in 2009, a number that nearly doubled in just five years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Posted in Informational, Pharmaceutical Industry, Policy & Regulation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Methadone linked to one-third of painkiller deaths: CDC

More than 15,500 people die every year of prescription drug overdoses, and nearly one-third of those overdoses involve the drug methadone, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While methadone accounts for only two percent of painkiller prescriptions in the United States, it is involved in more than 30 percent of prescription painkiller overdose deaths, the report found.

Methadone, which has been used for decades to treat drug addiction, has been increasingly prescribed in recent years to relieve pain. But the drug is riskier than other painkillers, because it can build up in a person’s body, leading to dangerously slowed breathing. Methadone can also be particularly risky when used with tranquilizers or other prescription painkillers.

More than 4 million methadone prescriptions were written for pain in 2009, despite warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the risks associated with the drug.

Posted in Informational, Pharmaceutical Industry, Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

FDA considers broadening access to opioid overdose treatment

The Food and Drug Administration held a public hearing Thursday to discuss making the life-saving opioid overdose reverser naloxone available over the counter. Although opiate overdoses are on the rise, many people still don’t know about naloxone, which literally reverses the dangerous effects of taking too much OxyContin or heroin by counteracting the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system.

The Drug Policy Alliance, a group that seeks to advance policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, said in a policy brief that naloxone’s status as a prescription drug is one of the key barriers to broader access. And due to its status as a generic medication, producing it does not yield substantial profits, so many pharmaceutical companies are unwilling to manufacture it, the organization noted.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that naloxone has successfully saved the lives of more than 10,000 overdose victims since 1996. However, only 15 states and the District of Columbia currently have naloxone distribution programs. This, despite the fact that nearly 40 Americans die per day from overdoses of prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, according to a recent CDC report.

Posted in Informational, Policy & Regulation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Painkiller overdose deaths reach 15,000 a year in U.S.

Nearly 40 Americans die per day from overdoses of prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of deaths represents a three-fold increase over the past decade, and opioid pain relievers now account for more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, the report found. In addition, in 2010 alone, there were enough painkillers prescribed to supply every American with a one-month supply, the agency says.

Click here for a CDC podcast on prescription painkiller overdoses in the U.S., here for a CDC fact sheet on prescription drug abuse, or here for a CDC policy brief on the issue.

Posted in Informational, Surveys & Statistics, Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment