A new study which was recently published in the medical journal the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that 90% of patients who experienced chronic pain and had a drug overdose in the past were still prescribed prescription pain medication in spite of this. These are patients who are at a very high risk of overdosing again yet 9 out of 10 are given the same class of drug, often by the same physician. In fact the statistics show that 7 out of 10 patients who overdosed at least once were given the same category of drugs by the same physician who prescribed them before the drug overdose. This study shows the fine line that physicians must walk. Prescription pain medication does offer some benefits for patients who truly have chronic pain, but this drug category also carries some serious risks as well and one of these is addiction.
The latest study on prescription pain medication and drug overdose shows that patients who experienced a drug overdose yet continued to take opioid based drugs were twice as likely to have another overdose within two years as a result. Patients who discontinue opioid drug use after the initial drug overdose and who turned to alternative methods of pain relief cut their risk of another drug overdose in half. The study utilized the claims database for a large national commercial insurance company, and the database included more than 50 million individual medical records and claims. The database information covered a 12 year time span, and included around 3,000 claims that involved drug overdose details.