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The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has come out with a set of painkiller guidelines, saying the risks posed by the powerful narcotic or opioid painkillers overshadow their benefits in treatment of chronic headaches, fibromyalgia and low back pain.
Some of the popularly used narcotic painkillers include medications like codeine, morphine, methadone, oxycodone (Oxycontin),fentanyl, hydrocodone or a drug combination with acetaminophen.
The researchers said that the following of proper guidelines is must for these powerful drugs as their overdose can cause serious side effects, addiction and even death. The study showed that 50 percent of patients who took narcotic drugs or opioids for at least three months continued them for a longer period that extended to five years and more.
According to the statement by AAN, opioids may provide short-term pain relief to the patient but there is no evidence that they maintain the relief or improve their ability or capacity to function over longer periods of time without posing a serious risk of overdose, addiction or dependence.
In an academy news release, Dr. Gary Franklin of the University of Washington in Seattle, said, “More than 100,000 people have died from prescription opioid use since policies changed in the late 1990s to allow much more liberal long-term use.”
“There have been more deaths from prescription opioids in the most vulnerable young to middle-aged groups than from firearms and car accidents,” Franklin said while highlighting, “Doctors, health experts, states, institutions and patients need to work together to stop this epidemic.”
The guidelines were published in the journal Neurology on Tuesday (September 30).