Author Interviews, Opiods, Pharmacology / 19.06.2014

Nicholas B. King, PhD, Biomedical Ethics Unit McGill University Montreal QC CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicholas B. King, PhD, Biomedical Ethics Unit McGill University Montreal QC CanadaMedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?Dr. King: Unintentional overdoses from prescription opioid painkillers have been rising sharply in the US and Canada during the past two decades, killing thousands of people every year. A lot has been written about the subject in both popular media and scholarly literature, but we still don't have a very good idea of why this has happened. So we tried to objectively and systematically assess evidence for what has contributed to increasing mortality. We found the following:(1) The evidence base for why mortality has increased is very thin, and more research is urgently required.(2) We found evidence for at least 17 different causes of increased mortality. We found the most evidence for the following factors: dramatically increased prescription and sales of opioids; increased use of strong, long-acting opioids like oxycodone and methadone; combined use of opioids and other (licit and illicit) drugs and alcohol; and social and demographic characteristics. We found little evidence that internet sales of pharmaceuticals and errors by doctors and patients--factors commonly cited in the media--have played a significant role.(more…)