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An opioid is a chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. The receptors in these two organ systems mediate both the beneficial effects and the side effects of opioids.
Better quality of care may reduce mortality risk in patients treated with opioid therapy for pain

Better quality of care may reduce mortality risk in patients treated with opioid therapy for pain

Better quality of care may reduce the risk of death for patients who are prescribed opioid painkillers for chronic pain, say Yale researchers. Their study, published Feb. 4 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, offers evidence that supports recommendations from clinical practice guidelines encouraging physicians to engage patients with mental health services and substance abuse treatment, as well as to avoid co-prescriptions for sedatives. [More]
Noninvasive FMRI may help evaluate effectiveness of new pain medications

Noninvasive FMRI may help evaluate effectiveness of new pain medications

New research may allow new, more effective and safer pain medications to reach patients who suffer from chronic pain sooner. According to a recent study published in Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), to measure the brain's neural response to pain, may be a viable tool for evaluating the effectiveness of new pain medications during the early stages of human drug development - providing the needed objective evidence to prevent the premature discarding of potentially beneficial therapies. [More]
Educational programs, new clinic policies could significantly reduce level of opioid medication

Educational programs, new clinic policies could significantly reduce level of opioid medication

A recent study showed that medical provider training, new clinic policies and efforts to "taper" opioid use for pain treatment could significantly reduce the level of opioid medication that patients used -- a limited but positive step for a nation enmeshed in opioid use, abuse and overdose deaths. [More]
Opioid medication does not improve physical function in patients with neuropathic pain

Opioid medication does not improve physical function in patients with neuropathic pain

Opioids such as morphine, codeine and Tylenol 3 can be effective for treating pain, however, a new University of Alberta study finds that patients with neuropathic pain taking opioids report no improvements in physical functioning compared to those who were not prescribed opioids. [More]
Temple University Hospital makes strides in confronting prescription drug abuse

Temple University Hospital makes strides in confronting prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse has become a public health crisis in the U.S., and Temple University Hospital has made strides in confronting this critical situation. [More]
Long-term use of opioids increases risk of new-onset depression

Long-term use of opioids increases risk of new-onset depression

Opioids may cause short-term improvement in mood, but long-term use imposes risk of new-onset depression, a Saint Louis University study shows. [More]
Buprenorphine superior to methadone in reducing duration of treatment for babies born in drug withdrawal

Buprenorphine superior to methadone in reducing duration of treatment for babies born in drug withdrawal

A study of two opioids used to wean babies born in withdrawal from drugs their mothers have taken shows that buprenorphine is superior to methadone in reducing duration of treatment and length of hospital stay. [More]
Most patients with chronic pain continue to receive prescription opioids after nonfatal overdose

Most patients with chronic pain continue to receive prescription opioids after nonfatal overdose

A study led by Boston Medical Center indicates that most patients with chronic pain who are hospitalized after a nonfatal opioid overdose continue to receive prescription opioids after the overdose and are at high risk for experiencing a repeated overdose. [More]
Opioid prescribing guideline has immediate, sustained impact on prescribing rates

Opioid prescribing guideline has immediate, sustained impact on prescribing rates

Emergency medicine physicians at Temple University Hospital have found that an opioid prescribing guideline had an immediate and sustained impact on opioid prescribing rates for minor conditions and chronic noncancer pain in an acute care setting. [More]

More than 90% of patients continue to receive prescription opioids after overdose

More than 90 percent of patients with chronic pain continue to receive prescription opioids after an overdose and are at high risk for experiencing a repeated overdose, according to an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine. [More]
Crackdown on Florida's 'pill mills' reduces painkiller overdose deaths

Crackdown on Florida's 'pill mills' reduces painkiller overdose deaths

A crackdown on Florida's "pill mills" - clinics dispensing large quantities of prescription painkillers often for cash-only and without proper medical examinations - appears to have dramatically reduced the number of overdose deaths in the state from these drugs and may have also led to a drop in heroin overdose deaths, new research suggests. [More]
New data shows opioid overdose deaths hit record levels in 2014

New data shows opioid overdose deaths hit record levels in 2014

From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million Americans died from drug overdoses. Opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, hit record levels in 2014, with an alarming 14 percent increase in just one year, according to new data published today in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. [More]
Toronto researchers reveal how opioids interfere with breathing mechanism

Toronto researchers reveal how opioids interfere with breathing mechanism

University of Toronto researchers on a quest to make opioid drugs less lethal have discovered a window of opportunity: a tiny channel in the brain where opioids interfere with the breathing mechanism. [More]
Feeling sad can alter levels of inflammatory proteins linked to increased risk of comorbid diseases

Feeling sad can alter levels of inflammatory proteins linked to increased risk of comorbid diseases

Feeling sad can alter levels of stress-related opioids in the brain and increase levels of inflammatory proteins in the blood that are linked to increased risk of comorbid diseases including heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome, according to a study by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. [More]
Drug use remains stable among teens, MTF survey shows

Drug use remains stable among teens, MTF survey shows

The 2015 Monitoring the Future survey (MTF) shows decreasing use of a number of substances, including cigarettes, alcohol, prescription opioid pain relievers, and synthetic cannabinoids ("synthetic marijuana"). Other drug use remains stable, including marijuana, with continued high rates of daily use reported among 12th graders, and ongoing declines in perception of its harms. [More]
Recreational drug and alcohol use can increase risk of poisoning-related hospital admissions

Recreational drug and alcohol use can increase risk of poisoning-related hospital admissions

Poisonings from recreational drug and alcohol use account for 9 percent of all poisoning-related hospital admissions, says a new University of Sydney study revealing that males and people under 30 are at greatest risk. [More]
Stanford study finds that overprescription of opioids goes beyond ‘pill mill’ prescribers

Stanford study finds that overprescription of opioids goes beyond ‘pill mill’ prescribers

Most prescriptions for opioid painkillers are made by the broad swath of U.S. general practitioners, not by a limited group of specialists, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. [More]

Tris announces FDA approval of first-ever ER chewable tablet

Tris Pharma, Inc. is pleased to announce that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever extended-release (ER) chewable tablet, capping off a highly productive year with three Tris-developed NDAs approved in a calendar year. [More]
Identifying and avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests

Identifying and avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests

Too many tests at the doctor's office could cost you more than just dollars. In addition to the huge hit to your wallet, there's also the potential harm of false positives, and just because a test has traditionally been done for a condition doesn't mean it's the best way to treat it. [More]
Access to harm reduction programs vey low in rural and suburban areas affected by HIV infections

Access to harm reduction programs vey low in rural and suburban areas affected by HIV infections

Access to harm reduction programs such as syringe exchange is lowest in rural and suburban areas, where rates of addiction to heroin and other opioids are on the rise, according to a study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published online today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. [More]
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