It looks like I’m not the only one upset by the severely biased report from the Brookings Institute:
Public Health Experts Call for Retraction of Brookings Institution Opioid “Research Roundup” – By Sarah Beller – Dec 2018
An article published December 7 by the Brookings Institution, a prominent Washington, DC think tank, is under fire for promoting the idea that harm reduction approaches—like syringe exchange and naloxone—may encourage “riskier opioid use” and increase rates of opioid-related deaths.
The focus of the criticism is the choice of which articles to cite—and which not to cite—by the authors of the Institution’s “research roundup.” Continue reading
Today’s Drug Abusers Did Not Derive From Yesterday’s Patients – By Jeffrey A. Singer – December 4, 2018
We learned last week that the 2017 drug overdose numbers reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearly show most opioid-related deaths are due to illicit fentanyl and heroin, while deaths due to prescription opioids have stabilized, continuing a steady trend for the past several years.
But the media and policymakers remain unshakably committed to the idea that the overdose crisis is the product of greedy pharmaceutical companies manipulating gullible and poorly-trained doctors into over-prescribing opioids for patients in pain and ensnaring them in the nightmare of addiction. Continue reading
Opioid Nation by Marcia Angell – December 6, 2018 Issue
This is a review of three books written about the so-called “opioid epidemic”.
The term opioid is now used to include opiates, which are derivatives of the opium poppy, and opioids, which originally referred only to synthesized drugs that act in the same way as opiates do.
Opium, the sap from the poppy, has been used throughout the world for thousands of years to treat pain and shortness of breath, suppress cough and diarrhea, and, maybe most often, simply for its tranquilizing effect. Continue reading
The Tribune was wrong. Medicine often involves a risk to the patient. – By Lynn Webster, M.D. – Dec 2018
The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial on Sunday Nov 12, 2017, “Medical professionals need to play a role in opioid crisis.” The first line reads, “First do no harm.”
According to the editorial, physicians who prescribe opioids to treat pain patients may be violating the Hippocratic Oath, because “a doctor’s first concern is to not do anything to make things worse.”
However, the editorial got it wrong.
In all of life, it often happens that bad situations are made worse in the short run in order to improve them in the long run, for example, like painfully resetting a broken bone or going through labor to birth a child. Continue reading
Detecting BS in Healthcare – Lawton R. Burns, PhD & Mark V. Pauly, PhD – Department of Health Care Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania – Nov 2018
In the past several months, we have observed several notable signs of deceptive, misleading, unsubstantiated, and foolish statements—what we will call “BS” — in the health care industry.
These new signs include fraudulently marketed products from Theranos and IBM Watson,and a recent statement by the CEO of One Medical that his firm aims to take out 10 percent of U.S. health care spending — something no one has ever done (not even the Federal Government). These follow closely on the heels of other likely BS, including claims that the proposed CVS- Aetna merger will turn your local pharmacy into a neighborhood “health care hub.”
Why does this kind of behavior occur? Continue reading
Do Opioid Scripts For Tooth Extraction Really Cause Abuse – Or Just Useless Numbers? – By Josh Bloom — December 6, 2018
This article is a take-down of the absurdedly muddled and manipulated study looking for opioid abuse in adolescents (likeliest group to develop problems) that got opioids after the very specific procedure of “third molar extraction” in 2015.
That strange selection of subjects is already a glaring indication that this is another one of those anti-opioid studies that cherry-picks the subjects, massages the data, and then misrepresents the results. I hope our tax dollars aren’t paying for the endlessly repeating studies designed explicitly to show negatives about opioids; there must be hundreds.
A new online article in JAMA Internal Medicine entitled “Association of Opioid Prescriptions From Dental Clinicians for US Adolescents and Young Adults With Subsequent Opioid Use and Abuse” claims that there is a clear association between opioid prescriptions and subsequent abuse for adolescents and young adults who had wisdom teeth removed. Continue reading
Are Anticonvulsants Effective for Low Back Pain? – MPR – Diana Ernst, RPh – July 2018
Here’s another review showing that anticonvulsants (anti-epileptics like Lyrica and gabapentin) are not effective for pain, even though they are increasingly prescribed for it.
For no other purpose than to avoid using opioids, pain patients are being prescribed all kinds of drugs off-label because they may be effective for some kinds of pain is some people some of the time.
Pain management doctors are forced to practice medicine based on hope, not evidence, when the most effective drugs for this condition are prohibited due to their potential damage to patients who may potentially abuse them and potentially develop an addiction. Continue reading
Uncritical Publication of a Biased Study Leads to Misleading Media Reports | Pain Medicine | Oxford Academic – Lynn R Webster, MD – 20 November 2018
Dr. Webster points out how much harm is done when sloppy and biased research results are handed to reporters, often with a dramatic positive spin.
On March 6, 2018, (JAMA) published a manuscript titled “Effect of Opioid vs Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients With Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain: The SPACE Randomized Clinical Trial,” by Krebs et al. …results of the study led to headlines in major news outlets touting proof that opioids were not for chronic noncancer pain. [Ironically, “Krebs Study” Shows Opioids are Safe]
The article is in the top 5% of all research outputs measured by Altmetric: As of this writing, 313 news stories from 191 outlets, 2 278 tweeters, 45 Facebook pages, nine blogs, and seven Redditors have reported on the study. [See Popular Article on Opioids is Misleading] Continue reading
Who Is Telling The Truth About Prescription Opioid Deaths? DEA? CDC? Neither? | American Council on Science and Health – By Josh Bloom — November 5, 2018
In this article, Mr. Bloom takes apart the DEA’s exaggerated counts of supposed “prescription drug overdoses”, revealing how the DEA conflates, distorts, and inflates numbers using illogical groupings and obscure details of definitions.
“Controlled Prescription Drugs (CPDs) … are still responsible for the most drug-involved overdose deaths and are the second most commonly abused substance in the United States.”
– 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment. Drug Enforcement Administration, October 2018.
A newly-released 164-page report just issued by the DEA maintains that controlled prescription drugs are killing more Americans than any other type of drug (1); even more than heroin and fentanyl.
But if you’ve been keeping up in this area this sounds very strange. Can it really be true that drugs like Vicodin and Percocet are killing more Americans, especially when one report after another lays the blame on illicit fentanyl and its scary analogs? Continue reading
Teater: Opioid problem biggest healthcare issue facing America [???]- Nov 2018 – utter nonsense!
On the Inspire.com Opioid Information Thread, the member Seshet posted a brilliant rebuttal to the terribly mistaken article above:
The Cleveland Daily Banner has an article with Don Teater, MD, explaining how opioids should never be used for anything other than severe trauma or end-of-life care.
There are glaring errors in every paragraph.
Examples: Continue reading