Residents taking dangerous drug mix
West Virginians are more likely than residents of other states to mix anti-anxiety medications with prescription pain pills -- a potentially deadly combination -- said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reported by Eric Eyre, staff writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
For one of every five days West Virginians were taking a painkiller, the same people also were taking an anti-anxiety drug like Xanax, the CDC reported. West Virginia had the highest rate of overlapping prescriptions among the eight states taking part in the study.
"If you mix the two, that leads to most of the drug-related deaths," said Mike Goff, administrator at the WV Board of Pharmacy. "The combination really slows down the respiratory system. You shouldn't mix them, especially in high doses."
West Virginia has the highest prescription-drug overdose death rate in the U. S.
The CDC also reported West Virginians are more likely to receive extra-strength prescription painkillers -- long-acting oxycodone and hydrocodone -- as new patients. "Giving out a big dose of opioids to someone who hasn't had them is a problem," Goff said. "It could potentially lead to an overdose if they prescribe too much all at once."
Rogue pain killers have issued many of high-dose painkiller prescriptions in WV, according to Goff. State health regulators are shutting down some of the clinics as part of a crackdown on prescription drug abuse.
The CDC analyzed prescription data from eight states -- West Virginia, Idaho, California, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Florida and Delaware -- that agreed to take part in the study. The CDC said the study shows there's an urgent need to overhaul doctor's prescribing practices, particular for painkillers, which were prescribed twice as often as stimulants and sedatives in West Virginia and the other seven states.
Overall, the study found that a small percentage of doctors was responsible for most opioid prescriptions. "A comprehensive approach is needed to address the prescription-opioid overdose epidemic, including guidance to providers on the risks and benefits of these medications," said Debra Houry, director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Doctor's prescribing practices key to curbing painkiller abuse: CDC
Improved prescribing practices could help reduce narcotic painkiller abuse and overdose deaths from those drugs, a new U. S. government study says. An analysis of prescription drug-monitoring programs in eight states found that a small number of doctors were responsible for most narcotic painkiller prescriptions, according to the U. S,. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers.
The CDC researchers analyzed 2013 data from prescription drug-monitoring programs in California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Main, Ohio and West Virginia, which represents about one-quarter of the U. S. population.
The study found a small number of doctors who were heavy prescribers. For instance, the top one percent of prescribers wrote 25 percentage of narcotic prescriptions in Delaware, compared with about 12 percent in Maine. The findings, published in the October 16 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, highlight the need to improve prescribing practices, particular for narcotics, the study authors said.
More news here.