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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Buprenorphine Related Emergency Room Visits


Released in 2002, Buprenorphine was considered a miracle drug when it came to addicts recovering from opiate addiction. As with most swords there are two edges to the blade, with a number of people ending up in the emergency room as a result of the drug.

Emergency departments reported a significant rise in the number of incidents related to the opioid addiction medication between 2005 and 2010, according to a new government report. Buprenorphine-related visits rose from 3,161 in 2005, to 30,135 in 2010, according to Medical News Today. The report was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The FDA approved buprenorphine as a treatment for opioid addiction, for its ability to prevent opioid misuse without any withdrawal effects. However, buprenorphine use has greatly increased in the past few years; in 2005, it went from 5,656 physicians prescribing the drug to 100,000 patients. By 2010, more than 18,500 doctors prescribed the medication to over 800,000 patients.

While the risk of overdose potential is much lower than drugs like methadone, buprenorphine can cause serious harmful effects, particularly if it is taken improperly, or for non-medical uses - according to a SAMHSA news release.

Half of buprenorphine-related emergency department visits in 2010 involved the non-medical use of the drug. Of the reported visits, 59 percent also involved the use of other drugs such as benzodiazepines, pain relievers and illicit drugs.
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1 comment:

  1. I believe the increase in the prescribing of the medication by doctors can be attributed to the alarming increase of heroine addicted teens and young adults. When I was their age I (and my friends) were educated about heroine enough to scare us to stay away from it. Back then it was an "old people's drug". We never heard of our friends using it at that age. These days there are many young people I know of that have experienced an overdose or had several of their friends die right in front of them from overdosing on heroine. These kids are main lining it. It's frightening. They usually started out snorting oxycotin and then when that got too expensive a drug pusher introduced them to heroine which they started smoking and then slamming. My daughter is one of those young people. An E.R. nurse told me he's never seen anyone with veins so 'blown out' as hers since the 80's. She's only 22 years old. I fear every day that I will get that dreaded phone call telling me she is in the morgue. I pray for all the young people who got caught up with heroine. There are SO many it's astounding!

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