LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two professors at the University of Medical Sciences published articles this month linking the practice of prescribing more opioids to those in pain not only doesn't have an added effect to the pain, but also escalates the risk for becoming addicted to the medication.
Pharmacist and professor at UAMS, Bradley Martin Pharm.D., Ph.D. and Corey Hayes, Pharm.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor at UAMS, published the separate articles in the scientific journals Pain and Addiction.
The Pain article examined how increasing opioid dosage influenced the effect of the patient's pain and the Addiction article studied the risk of increasing dosage and the patient becoming addicted.
The researchers used data from over 18 thousand patients, finding when medical professionals prescribe more painkillers to their patients it has no added benefit and, when this does takes place, the chance of the patient becoming another number in the opioid crisis increases.
"People that escalate their dose have a 30 percent increase in experiencing one of these substance abuse disorders, so we think this is a cautionary story," Martin said.
Their study suggests raising the dose was linked to not just opioid misuse, but misuse of other drugs, as well as alcohol.
These results add to a growing pool of evidence that has doctors urging a return to using opioids as carefully as they used they had before drug makers launched major painkiller marketing campaigns in the nineties and 2000s.