Tag Archives: opiates

Tramadol: The most dangerous drug in the world

Over the years, as often happens, a difference between clinical trials and the real world started to emerge.

Imagine a prescription medication that relieves pain just as well as narcotics like Oxycontin, but isn’t addictive. Too good to be true?

Turns out, yes.

For years, that was the case with Tramadol, a synthetic opioid drug that was released in 1995 under the brand name Ultram to great expectations. This new drug seemed to offer all the benefits of more powerful, more addictive drugs, but with fewer of the downsides of dependency — at least in clinical trials. This was apparently in part because trials examined tramadol use by injection, but it is manufactured — and far more potent — in pill form.

And if the drug was unlikely to make people dependent, it was not likely to be abused, unlike other opioid alternatives like Vicodin (also known as Norco), Percocet — let alone be as dangerous as high potency opioid medications like morphine, Dilaudid, or Fentanyl.

So for many years, Tramadol was widely prescribed by doctors as a “safer” alternative to narcotics for pain. The difference between narcotics and opioids is subtle, but opioids are natural or synthetically made drugs that function metabolically in the body like opium derivatives derived from poppy plant, while narcotics is more often used as a legal term, classifying drugs that blur the senses and produce euphoria, including cocaine and other non-opiates.

Indeed, unlike other opioid drugs, the Drug Enforcement Agency didn’t classify Tramadol as a controlled substance, because the FDA believed it had a low potential for abuse.

Though there were concerns about tramadol abuse in the years after release, the FDA repeatedly determined that the drug was not being widely abused, and so left it as an unscheduled drug.
This made Tramadol a particularly dangerous drug — because it was, in fact, highly addictive and prone to abuse. But because it was easier to obtain and had less concerns from physicians, it was more widely prescribed. Over the years, as often happens, a difference between clinical trials and the real world started to emerge. Emergency rooms began to report a growing number of overdoses related to Tramadol ……..

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‘Unnecessary’ painkillers could leave thousands addicted, doctors warn | Science | The Guardian

Prescriptions for powerful opioid painkillers have doubled from 12m to 24m in past decade, NHS Digital figures reveal

Dependency, addiction, opiate painkillers

Dependency, addiction, opiate painkillers

Powerful and potentially addictive opiate painkillers are being handed out too readily, leading doctors have warned after it emerged that the number of times the drugs are being prescribed in the UK has doubled in the past decade.

The Faculty of Pain Medicine and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said they were worried about the high and growing use of opioid drugs such as codeine and tramadol – while other experts warn that hundreds of thousands of patients could be addicted to them.

Dr Barry Miller, dean of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, said that the increase in the prescription rates of painkillers in the UK should be “met with concern”, adding: “While some of the increase can be attributed to an improved understanding of the effectiveness of these medications by medical professionals, we are concerned by reports of unnecessary prescription.”

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https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/may/05/unnecessary-opioid-painkiller-prescriptions-thousands-addicted-nhs-doctors-warn

Crackdown on prescription opioids followed by increase in ‘dark web’ purchases, study finds

Illicit online opioid purchases surged after the government cracked down on prescription painkillers, a new study has found.

With the United States grappling with a metastasising opioid addiction crisis, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2014 tightened restrictions around drugs containing hydrocodone. The change made it more difficult to obtain and refill prescriptions for the widely user painkiller.

Many of the people who have become addicted to opioids in recent years have first developed a dependency on the drugs after being legally prescribed painkillers. Law enforcement officials were seeking to dam that outlet to addiction.

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‘Dr Opiate’ GP oversaw a ‘practice of shortening lives’ 

‘Dr Opiate’ GP oversaw a ‘practice of shortening lives’ that killed up to 650 patients given ‘dangerous doses’ of painkillers over an 11-year period – as inquiry urges police to investigate.

Up to 650 patients who died at Gosport War Memorial were given unnecessary amounts of opioid painkillers, a damning inquiry has found.

Opiates painkillers
Opiates painkillers

An ‘institutionalised regime’ of prescribing and administering opioids without medical justification shortened the lives of at least 450 people between 1989 and 2000, the Gosport Independent Panel found today following four-year investigation.

An additional 200 patients were probably affected when taking into account missing records, the panel said.

At the centre of the storm is Dr Jane Barton, who earned the nickname ‘Dr Opiate’ after overseeing the dishing out of powerful painkillers to elderly patients when she worked at the hospital in Hampshire. She has since retired.

Hospital management, Hampshire Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council have also been criticised in the report for failing to protect patients.

The panel found there was ‘a disregard for human life’ at the hospital and ‘a culture of shortening the lives of a large number of patients’.

The inquiry said there was ‘an institutionalised regime of prescribing and administering dangerous doses’ which were not needed.

Relatives who complained ‘were consistently let down by those in authority – both individuals and institutions,’ the report states.

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