Many Patients Prescribed Opioids Sharing Leftover Pills

Share this content:
Many Patients Prescribed Opioids Sharing Leftover Pills
Many Patients Prescribed Opioids Sharing Leftover Pills

MONDAY, June 13, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of patients prescribed opioids receive more than they need, and many share the drugs or fail to store them securely, according to research published online June 13 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Ph.D., an assistant scientist in the department of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues surveyed 1,055 adults in 2015 who had been prescribed opioids in the previous year. Nearly 47 percent were taking opioids at the time of the survey. All were asked about their own opioid use, their opioid storage habits, and whether they gave their medication to others. A total of 1,032 participants completed the survey.

The researchers found that nearly six in 10 said they either had excess medication or expected to have leftovers. One in five (20.7 percent) reported ever having shared their medication with another person. Of patients who shared their medication, 7.7 percent said they gave them to a friend and 13.7 percent said they gave them to a relative. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) said they gave their spare medications to someone they knew who also struggled with pain. Nearly half who had recently been prescribed opioids said they didn't remember being told about safe opioid storage.

In a second study published in the same journal, Anupam Jena, M.D., an associate professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues focused on 623,597 Medicare recipients. They found that, on average, 14.9 percent of hospital patients get a new opioid prescription at discharge. Of those patients, 42.5 percent were found to still be taking opioids more than three months later. "Our findings," Jena told HealthDay, "corroborate prior work that suggests that short-term exposure to opioids can lead to long-term use and, at worse, dependence."

Full Text 1 (subscription or payment may be required)
Full Text 2

Share this content:

is free, fast, and customized just for you!




Already a member?

Sign In Now »

Drug Lookup

Browse drugs by: BrandGenericDisease



Sign up for myCME e-newsletters




More in Home

Some California Mosquitoes Can Carry Zika Virus

Some California Mosquitoes Can Carry Zika Virus

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes found to transmit Zika virus

Periodontal Inflammation a Risk With Tongue Piercing

Periodontal Inflammation a Risk With Tongue Piercing

And, two young females with tongue piercings have deep lingual infrabony lesions, periodontitis

Risk of OD Highest for First Days of Opioid  Benzodiazepine Use

Risk of OD Highest for First Days of ...

Five-fold increased risk of opioid-related overdose during first 90 days of concurrent use

is free, fast, and customized just for you!




Already a member?

Sign In Now »