Opioids Now Most Prescribed Class of Medications, Penn Researcher Finds

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Media Contact:Kim Menard | kim.menard@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-662-6183 April 6, 2011

Two reports by addiction researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse show a drastic shift in prescribing patterns impacting the magnitude of opioid substance abuse in America. The reports, published in JAMA, recommend a comprehensive effort to reduce public health risks while improving patient care, including better training for prescribers, pain management treatment assessment, personal responsibility and public education.

The JAMA Research Report shows that there has been a drastic increase in opioid prescriptions while prescriptions for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have gone down. Prescriptions for hydrocodone and oxycodone account for 84.9 percent of opioid prescriptions. Over ten years, there has been a fivefold increase in admissions to substance abuse programs for opioid addiction.

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