1 in 10 Americans Uses a Prescription Painkiller

by steven reinberg
healthdy reprter

wed, jun 24, 2020 (healthdy news) — americans continue to look to the med cabinet for pain relief, with 1 in 10 using some type of prescription painkiller, a new u.s. government reprt says.

but use of prescription opioid painkillers lvled off from 2015 to 2018, while prescriptions for nonopioid pain meds rose, according to the reprt from the u.s. centers for disease control and prevention.

this survey nother research is showing that pain management is becoming safer, said dr. ajay wasan, president of the american academy of pain med.

“tis becoming less reliant on opioids, and physicians are prescribing much + responsibly,” said wasan, who is co-director of the center for innovation in pain care atta university of pittsburgh.

tween 2015 and 2018, nearly 11% of american adults aged 20 n'oer used at least one prescription opioid like oxycodone or a nonopioid like celebrex, investigators found.

breaking that down, they found that nearly 6% of american adults used one or + prescription opioid painkillers, while 5% used a nonopioid prescription pain dration to quell their aches and pains.

“physicians ‘d look 1st at nonopioid drugs to manage pain and then if nonopioid drations don’t work, think bout opioids,” said researcher dr. qiuping gu, an epidemiologist atta cdc’s national center for health statistics (nchs).

for the study, gu and colleagues used data from the u.s. national health and nutrition examination survey.

other findings:

  • + women than men used prescription opioids inna past 30 dys, and use increased with age.
  • use of any prescription pain dration was highest among whites (nearly 12%), compared to blacks (bout 10%) and hispanics (8.5%). use was loest among asians (4.5%).
  • tween 2009 and 2010 and tween 2017 and 2018, there was no significant change inna use of prescription opioids, while the use of prescription nonopioids rose.

despite a lvling off of prescription opioids, which is good news given the nation’s addiction epidemic, their use remains a concern.

“when taking into account that 21% to 29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain may misuse them, and 8% to 12% of these patients may develop opioid use disorder, the survey data showing gr8r than 1 of 20 u.s. adults using opioids for pain continues to be problematic,” said dr. yili huang, director of the pain management center at northwell health phelps hospital in sleepy hollo, n.y.


“this sufferationes a need for continued pain management education swell as increased access to safe and effective pain care,” said huang.

wasan said other studies looking at drs’ prescribing practices ‘ve found fewer opioids prescribed for chronic pain.

but he also said he expects the № of americans taking a prescription painkiller to increase as the pop ages.

and wasan voiced concern that some patients may not get the pain relief they deserve cause drs are + reluctant to prescribe opioids and insurance companies ‘ve become reluctant to approve them.

“unfortunately, a lotta that s'been made worse by insurance companies that ‘ve become very restrictive on opioid prescribing,” he noted.

“even if opioids are appropriate to prescribe, you can’t prescribe cause of all the barriers involved that insurance companies introduce,” wasan said. “that is 1-odda big drivers for many-pay shunt's receiving inadequate pain care.”

wasan added that insurance companies don’t, as a rule, cover pain management, which includes not 1-ly drations but physical and ψ-chological therapy.

“in managing chronic pain, there needo be use of multimodal approaches, so that you can avoid opioids and so u can also get the most improvement in pain and function,” he said.

the cdc reprt was released jun 24 in an nchs data brief.

webmd news from healthdy


srcs: qiuping gu, m.d., ph.d., epidemiologist, national center for health statistics, u.s. centers for disease control and prevention; ajay wasan, m.d., president, american academy of pain med, and co-director, center for innovation in pain care, university of pittsburgh; yili huang, d.o., director, pain management center, northwell health phelps hospital, sleepy hollo, n.y.; jun 24, 2020, cdc’s nchs data brief:prevalence of prescription pain dration use among adults: ∪d states, 2015-2018

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