Friday, 3 September 2010

The New Study Identifies Risks for Painkiller Addiction

Greater odds if you're younger than 65, have a history of drug violence and depression, and use psychiatric meds. The mystery of why some people are more likely to become obsessed to opioid painkillers has been partially unraveled by the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.
Its researchers found that the group most helpless to addiction has four main risk factors in common: age a history of depression, prior drug abuse, and using psychiatric medications. Painkiller dependence rates among patients with these factors are as high as 26 percent.
For the study, they interviewed and analyzed DNA from 705 patients with back pain who were arranged opioid painkillers -- a class that includes such narcotics as morphine and codeine -- for more than 90 days.
The researchers also studied a gene on chromosome 15 that has been connected with alcohol, cocaine and nicotine addiction. The data recommended that DNA mutations on a gene gather on chromosome 15 may also be associated with opioid addiction. "These results suggest that patients with pre-existing risk factors are more likely to become addicted to painkillers, providing the basis for further clinical evaluation," Joseph Boscarino, an epidemiologist and senior researcher at Geisinger's Center for Health Research, said in a health system news release.
"By assessing patients in chronic pain for these risk factors before prescribing painkillers, doctors will be better able to treat their patients' pain without the probable for future drug addiction," he added. Boscarino and colleagues also said these same risk factors may enlarge the risk of drug addiction in patients without a history of chronic pain.

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