DENVER, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The national debate over opioid use and the rise in overdoses continued with a hearing before the FDA this month and in January the New York Mayor put limits on how its hospitals fill opioid prescriptions.
The focus of the FDA's dedicated task force is to reduce the misuse and abuse of opioids. Their multi-pronged approach includes improving labeling, packaging, and storage along with education. They stated, "prescribers have a key role to play in preventing" and believe "it is critically important to facilitate education about the best use of opioids."
Prescription opioid (OPR) related deaths exceed cocaine and heroin overdoses combined, according to a CDC report. The statistics are staggering bringing much needed attention to the opioid epidemic. This CDC report highlights that "OPR were involved in 14,800 (73.8%) of the 20,044 prescription drug overdose deaths."
The opioid epidemic is also dramatically impacting the costs of care and the loss in productivity in the workplace. The New York Times reported last year "insurers spend an estimated $1.4 million annually on narcotic painkillers, or opioids. But they are also finding that the medications, if used too early in treatment, too frequently or for too long, can drive up associated disability payouts and medical expenses by delaying an employee's return to work."
Axion Health's CMIO and professor at Colorado School of Public Health, Dr. Lee Newman was quoted recently on the subject. "Because doctors are taught to treat pain in the most effective way possible and more insurers cover the cost of expensive, long-acting opioids, studies have shown that as many as 52% of workers' compensation claims now involve a prescription to at least one opioid."
Axion Health is sponsoring a complimentary clinical webinar: Chronic Pain and the Opioid Epidemic: Implications for Workers' Comp and Case Management. Dr. Newman will present changes in guidelines for chronic non-cancer pain management, FDA recommendations on the use of long acting opioids, and recent studies on opioid use and workers' comp, claims, and costs. He will also share a basic overview for improving pain management in your practice.
About Axion Health
Axion Health provides employee health, occupational health, medical surveillance, and emergency preparedness software for health systems, industry, and government agencies. Axion Health's ReadySet is a mobile friendly, Web-based solution that is easy to use, Internet-accessible, HIPAA-compliant, and 100% paperless. The solution also offers robust integrations with clinical, HR, information and regulatory systems. For more information, toll free 877 770 3073 or www.axionhealth.com.
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