Tag Archives: prescription

UK’s top paramedic Malcolm Woollard died of prescription drug overdose

Britain’s top paramedic, 57, was found dead in bed by neighbour after taking accidental overdose of morphine prescribed for his chronic back pain

Britain’s top paramedic died after overdosing on the 19 drugs he took for back pain each day, an inquest heard.

Professor Malcolm Woollard, 57, was found lying naked in his bed in Llangattock, near Abergavenny, South Wales in July last year.

He was discovered after a neighbour became concerned with mail piling up outside his house – but could have been dead for a week before he was found.

Pontypridd Coroner’s Court heard he had chronic back pain and was regularly admitted to hospital for taking too much morphine.

He was the first paramedic in the UK to be awarded the title of Professor and was Chairman of the British Paramedics Association

More….

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6573327/Chairman-Paramedics-Association-Malcolm-Woollard-overdosed-prescription-drugs-inquest-hears.html

Crackdown on painkillers amid addiction fears.

Two painkillers are to be reclassified as class C controlled substances amid concerns people are becoming addicted to them and misusing them.

The drugs – pregabalin and gabapentin – are also used for epilepsy and anxiety.

The move, announced by the Home Office, means it will now be illegal to posses the drugs without a prescription and it will be illegal to supply or sell them to others.

The government acted after experts said tighter controls were needed.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs raised concerns about the drugs – amid reports of a rising number of fatalities being linked to the drug.

The law change will still mean the drugs are available for legitimate use on prescription, but there will be stronger controls in place.

What is Gabapentin – https://thedrugclassroom.com/video/gabapentin/

full story

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 ……..

full article here

Heath Ledger – awareness

Overdose awareness Day!

Heath Ledger, Prescription drugs and overdose.

‘It was [10] years ago … but to me it’s like it was yesterday.’

These are the words of Kim Ledger as he recalled the loss of his son Heath to an opioid overdose in January 2008.

The 28-year-old actor had been caught up in a punishing production schedule, flying between three different countries and filming scenes at night in the bitter cold. He contracted a chest infection that developed into pneumonia, and experienced insomnia.

Heath visited a variety of doctors on his travels to help deal with these problems, collecting a veritable cornucopia of prescription medications, including opioids and sleeping pills.

In combination, the opioids, sleeping pills and the chest infection itself had a depressing effect on Heath’s respiratory system, causing it to shut down. This made him a high-profile casualty of what was emerging as a prescription opioid epidemic, which includes the use of legal drugs such as codeine, fentanyl and oxycodone.

This phenomenon has claimed thousands of lives in Australia and around the world.

While Heath’s death was the result of a medication mix he didn’t realise would exact such a heavy toll, other opioid users have a more long-term relationship with these types of drugs, often becoming unexpectedly addicted after using them as a treatment for chronic non-malignant pain.

‘The accidental addict. In a very short space of time, people can become addicted to oxycodone and products like that,’ Kim said.

Such was the case of 30-year-old nurse and mother of two, Katie Howman, found dead following a fentanyl overdose in her Toowoomba home just before Christmas in 2013. Investigations revealed she had visited 20 different doctors and 15 different pharmacies over the previous 13 months in her search for opioids.

Opioids – a category that includes pharmaceuticals such as oxycodone and fentanyl, as well as illicit versions such as heroin – remain the main cause of accidental overdose death in Australia. Opioid-related deaths hovered at around 450 per year at the turn of the century, but these numbers have risen sharply since 2006 to hit over 1100 per year since 2014.

What has led us to this epidemic, and what can GPs do to help curb it?

Too good to be true
In the late 1990s, prescription opioids seemed like an ideal answer to the often-difficult problem of chronic, non-malignant pain.

‘There was an increased demand to treat chronic pain. There were very few options and very little research that had been done on this problem,’ Dr Evan Ackermann, a GP with a special interest in opioids, told the RACGP.

‘This was mixed with a situation of some fairly aggressive drug company marketing of opioids and a change of clinical attitude towards pain. Normally, pain would be part of the healing process, but people started to say we should be looking at pain as the “fifth sign” and treating it aggressively.

‘It was a cultural shift across the healthcare sector, across the board, from pharmacy right through to general practice, specialists and hospitals.’…………….
‘There is a sense out there sometimes that it’s just people choosing to do this, that there’s a dichotomy between the genuine-pain patient and the bad drug user,’ she said. ‘My experience is that they’re the same group of people.

‘Opioids interact with us as a species in a particular way; all of us are at risk of side-effects and one of those major side-effects is dependency and addiction.’

………….

full story

Exerpt from:https://www.racgp.org.au/newsGP/Clinical/Agony-and-ecstasy-Prescription-drugs-and-overdose

ADHD treatment may be needed by hundreds of thousands more children, experts suggest

| The Independent:

Hundreds of thousands more schoolchildren should be treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), say leading experts.

A major study led by University of Oxford academics suggests ADHD is seriously underdiagnosed and says more children should be given medication such as Ritalin, which it found is highly effective.

Concerns have been raised about the number of youngsters overmedicated for the disorder – but the evidence suggests just 10 per cent of those with ADHD are on any form of medication.

“We have strong evidence that in the UK, and many countries outside the US, ADHD is under recognised and under diagnosed,” said Professor David Coghill, a child and adolescent psychiatry expert from the University of Melbourne and a co-author of the study.

Full article

Two types of drugs you may want to avoid for the sake of your brain – Harvard Health

If you’re worried about developing dementia, you’ve probably memorized the list of things you should do to minimize your risk—eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and keeping your mind and soul engaged. In addition, some of the drugs you may be taking to help you accomplish those things could increase your risk of dementia. In two separate large population studies, both benzodiazepines (a category that includes medications for anxiety and sleeping pills) and anticholinergics (a group that encompasses medications for allergies and colds, depression, high blood pressure, and incontinence) were associated with an increased risk of dementia in people who used them for longer than a few months. In both cases, the effect increased with the dose of the drug and the duration of use.

These findings didn’t come entirely as a surprise to doctors who treat older people. “The Beer’s List published by the American Geriatrics Society has long recognized benzodiazepines, antihistamines, and tricyclic antidepressants as potentially inappropriate for older adults, given their side effects,” says Dr. Lauren J. Gleason, a physician in the Division of Aging at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Such drugs are on the list because they share troubling side effects—confusion, clouded thinking, and memory lapses—that can lead to falls, fractures, and auto accidents.

Full article:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/two-types-of-drugs-you-may-want-to-avoid-for-the-sake-of-your-brain

Withdrawal – What we Know and Don’t Know

Antidepressant Withdrawal – What we Know and Don’t Know

My Doctor/Psychiatrist told me that I have to take an antidepressant to correct a
chemical imbalance in my brain, is this true?

No, it is a myth, we cannot test or measure the state of neurotransmitters in your brain, the
American Psychiatric Association disavowed this myth in 2011(1). It is a pharmaceutical
company invention (2).

How many people experience withdrawal effects?

It varies according to which drug is used, at what dosage, and for how long. Recent
studies (3) are showing the number affected to be greater than 50% of those taking the
drugs. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists did their own survey (4) (now removed) which
showed that 63% reported withdrawal effects.

Why does my doctor/psychiatrist keep saying ‘discontinuation syndrome’ when I
mention withdrawal?

Discontinuation syndrome is an invented term (5) which minimises the role of the drug in the
harm caused and steers users away from addiction terminology. While dependence and
withdrawal have some features in common with addiction, they are not accurately
described using just this approach. What you are experiencing is an effect of withdrawing
from a drug, not of discontinuing treatment.

Why does my doctor insist that ‘once the drug is out of my system’ I will be fine?

Because not all doctors understand the effects of antidepressant drugs on the brain (6). A
heavy drinker or smoker may suddenly stop drinking/smoking, but the effects on their brain
and nervous system continue to be felt long after they have quit. Antidepressant drugs
change the brain in ways we don’t currently understand. These adaptations (7) to the drug
are responsible for withdrawal effects.

What does withdrawal feel like?

It’s a highly variable experience ranging from mild symptoms which pass quickly, to
profound symptoms that sometimes persist for many years. In a 2017 survey (8), 46% of
those reporting withdrawal symptoms described them as ‘severe’. Most common reported
symptoms (9) are insomnia, dizziness, fatigue, digestive problems, anxiety, panic,
depression, agitation. Withdrawal symptoms can sometimes mimic depressive or anxious states but should not be confused with relapse (10).

I am worried about dependence, what should I do?

The most important thing is never stop your drugs suddenly, this can be dangerous. Talk to
your doctor but be prepared as many doctors do not have the information to be able to
help. Withdrawal is a unique experience, with no fixed rules.

There are some excellent and
reliable online sources for help including:
• theinnercompass.org
• madinamerica.com/drug-withdrawal-resources
• survivingantidepressants.org
www.jfmoore.co.uk August, 2018
Antidepressant Withdrawal – What we Know and Don’t Know

References (to read these online visit www.jfmoore.co.uk/ltw.html)
1. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/blogs/couch-crisis/psychiatry-new-brain-mind-andlegend-chemical-imbalance
2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-depression-just-bad-chemistry/
3. http://roar.uel.ac.uk/7402/
4. RCPsych survey (now deleted)
5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/side-effects/201107/antidepressantwithdrawal-syndrome
6. http://time.com/3399344/antidepressant-changes-the-brain-study-finds/
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4118946/
8. http://roar.uel.ac.uk/7402/
9. https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/370338
10.http://www.stacommunications.com/journals/diagnosis/2006/Diagnosis_sep_06/DS.pdf
www.jfmoore.co.uk August, 2018

What we know about antidepressant withdrawal V1

James Moore

The needs of the older generation being met by prescribed medication?

I’m a great believer in respecting our elders and them passing on their knowledge and experience to help us get on in life. Yes, many have outdated ideas or perceptions of “the youth today” and have old fashioned values. But they are still here, many into their 80’s and 90’s. Many are fitter than us mid lifers. So why is it that as soon as you are 65 or pensionable age, you are considered by current legislation, an older person. That’s the age we should start to decline, shouldn’t be working or maybe not long on this mortal coil?

We may have reasonable health and fitness most of our working life but it’s at this point, earlier for some and much later for others, that especially after retirement, we “start to fall apart”. The mind set for many?

All the education we have about getting older gracefully, keep active physically or mentally, something kicks in and we start to have “problems”.

Many are lucky and can keep going but with many more this mind set of getting older brings on comparing ailments and frequent trips to the surgery and with it automatic prescriptions. We’ve been used to being prescribed medication throughout our years but usually only short term, 1 week, a month. But as we get older the prescriptions are ongoing, repeated every month, without need to see a doctor. Yes they have reviews but how many people remember how they felt before being prescribed. Some even admit to not following their medication guidelines.

It seems standard that most have at least 4 prescribed meds. Ailments usually arthritis, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes and more often than not, have been victim of a stroke. May have only been a TIA, but medication suddenly gets tripled and doesn’t get questioned. A few do look at their life style and diet so as to refrain from having to take anything, but most accept they are getting older and increased medication comes with the territory.

In my work I have met people who will not go to have their cataracts removed or go for that hearing test their children keep on at them about, but will accept the side effects from the multiple medications they are on. This is often out of fear that something will go wrong or that they’ll seem like an elderly person. Yet unknowing either having more health problems as a result of long term use or becoming addicted to certain medication.

What are our older population being prescribed? How do we know which are not appropriate for elderly use. Some antipsychotic drugs may not be appropriate for our older population with dementia especially women as can worsen confusion. Some drugs can have adverse effects or even have no effect at all due to long term usage.

When visiting our local surgeries, we never get to see our doctor anymore. It could be another partner or a locum. All experienced and qualified, but may not know our history. When discharged from hospital, additional medication is prescribed. More work is needed to educate our older trusting more vulnerable members of our communities to ensure their medication is appropriate, in date, not counter active to other medication prescribed and most important, the side effects are not going to be life threatening.

Further reading

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/389014/Fears-over-lazy-GPs-prescribing-strong-sleeping-pills-to-elderly

https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-gb/home/older-people%E2%80%99s-health-issues/aging-and-drugs/aging-and-drugs

(C.W. actively works to ensure that all older people are safe, secure and their needs are appropriately met.)

“Eminem – About The Dependency he had” – YouTube

https://youtu.be/9bpvT3VjOiU

Prescription pain killers: share your stories with us | Society | The Guardian

The number of prescriptions being written for strong opioid medications, such as codeine, have doubled. But doctors warn that these drugs can be addictive.

Prescriptions of powerful pain killers, such as codeine and tramadol, have doubled in the past decade – with the number of prescriptions issued rising from 12m in 2006 to 24m in 2016. NHS Digital figures show that one of the highest increases in prescriptions has been for oxycodone, which shot up from 387,591 to 1.5 million – a 206% rise – over that period.

But doctors warn that more should be done to monitor these drugs, and that they should not be given out so readily. The Faculty of Pain Medicine and Royal Pharmaceutical Society said more patients should be persuaded to try psychological means of dealing with pain, such as mindfulness, instead.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/05/prescription-pain-killers-share-your-stories-with-us