DEA cuts opioid production quotas by 25%

DEA Opioid Cuts Could Affect Terminally Ill Patients — Pain News Network – By Pat Anson, Editor – October 07, 2016

The DEA announced earlier this week that it is reducing production quotas for almost every Schedule II opioid pain medication next year by 25 percent or more.

Steep cuts in the production of opioid pain medication planned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration could worsen drug shortages and affect pain patients receiving end-of-life hospice care.

The quota cuts include opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone and morphine – many of which are used to give pain relief to patients in palliative and hospice care.   Continue reading

What Happens When Pain Goes Untreated?

What Happens When Pain Goes Untreated?

Untreated or under-treated pain is more than uncomfortable. There are profound effects in someone who lives with pain

A 1999 Chinese study of cancer patients showed that, after taking into account the effects of cancer, the more pain someone had, the worse the effects on their health and how they functioned.

Understandably, the relationship between the severity of pain and impairment was nonlinear: patients with no pain or only mild pain were significantly better functioning than those with moderate and severe pain.  Continue reading

Cranio-cervical Instability with EDS

Cranio-cervical Instability in Patients with Hypermobility Connective Disorders – J Spine 2016 –  by Fraser C. Henderson Sr. M.D

In this PDF file, Dr. Henderson explains the technical aspects of instability between the skull and upper spine. He makes clear that diagnosis requires imaging performed in flexion-extension, not static pictures, though these are non-standard views.

Cranio-cervical instability is well documented in connective tissue disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome and Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

However, less understood are the more than fifty genetic disorders of collagen characterized by joint laxity, and of course, laxity of the ligaments of the spine.   Continue reading

Improving health care with the simple act of listening

Improving health care with the simple act of listening

To make a difference, we must first identify what matters most to patients, health care providers, and communities. To do this, we must all learn to ask open-minded questions and listen carefully.

To fix health care, we need a genuine democratic dialog.

To start that, our society needs a massive dose of listening to understand what really matters to patients and communities.

Because clinicians have been put on a treadmill driven by the pitiless demands of a false concept of efficiency.   Continue reading

How Media Fuels the Opioid Crisis

How Media Fuels the Opioid Crisis – 9/30/16 by Dr. Lynn Webster MD –

Inaccurate Media Reporting

The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham’s September 20, 2016 blog entry, “Prescription painkillers are more widely used than tobacco, new federal study finds,” cites inaccurate data.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opioid-related deaths were about 14,000, not 19,000, in 2014, as Ingraham reports.

These are still all opioid-related deaths, meaning an opioid was involved at some point, but may not be the cause of death.  When a person is in hospice care, they are usually given opioids, so when they die it could be recorded as an opioid-related death.   Continue reading

Simple Test Of Brain Health

Try This Simple Test Of Brain Health — You Can Do It Standing On One Leg – Forbes – David DiSalvo, Contributor

Once in a while, brain research dishes out a simple, practical way to run a self-diagnostic test on your brain’s health.

A recent study from Japanese researchers offers such a test, and it’s simple enough that almost everyone can give it a try. Here’s what you do:

stand up, raise one leg in front of you bent at your knee, and try to maintain your balance in that position for as long as you can.  

Do that twice and record your time with a stopwatch both times. Continue reading

Pain Advocacy Talking Points

In preparation for the rally on October 22nd one of our leading advocates, Richard Lawhern, has organized our issues into this list of “Talking Points”. 

I’m posting it so others can use them as well when communicating about our needs for opioids (advocating). They are all by now familiar gripes we have with the CDC Guidelines.

Below is Richard’s email with his suggested talking points:

You asked for a few main points for use in letters to legislators.  Several of the points below will appear in the address that I will give at the Rally Against Pain, on October 22.   Continue reading

Health Spending on Opioid Tx Rose More Than 1,300%

Study: Health Spending Related To Opioid Treatment Rose More Than 1,300 Percent – 9/12/16

Now a new report shows a more than 1,300 percent rise in spending by health insurers in a four-year period on patients with a diagnosis of opioid dependence or abuse.

From 2011 to 2015, insurers’ payments to hospitals, laboratories, treatment centers and other medical providers for these patients grew from $32 million to $446 million — a 1,375 percent increase.

The Fair Health study found a sharp difference in how much insurers spend on individual patients with such a diagnosis.  Continue reading

Calcium supplements may damage the heart

Calcium supplements may damage the heart — ScienceDaily

After analyzing 10 years of medical tests on more than 2,700 people in a federally funded heart disease study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and elsewhere conclude that taking calcium in the form of supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage, although a diet high in calcium-rich foods appears be protective.

An estimated 43 percent of American adult men and women take a supplement that includes calcium, according the National Institutes of Health.

“Our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system.”   Continue reading