Monday, May 14, 2012

The story behind the Senate investigation of pain drug manufacturers


Andrew Kolodny of Maimonides Medical Center, on Pharmalot:

"They [pain drug manufacturers] realized that doctors were reluctant to prescribe opioids on a long-term basis to patients with chronic pain, because they didn’t want their patients to get addicted. Since Purdue recognized that fear of addiction was the greatest obstacle to convincing doctors to prescribe OxyContin, they went about creating a marketing campaign and funded educational programs that told doctors they didn’t have to worry about getting people addicted. And the key message was also that the drugs -opioids – are not really addictive and we – physicians – were allowing people to suffer needlessly because we were overly concerned about creating addiction. They used the term ‘opiophobia.’ And they also maintained that if a doctor started a patient on opioids and then a few months later the patient appeared to be addicted because they were running out of medicine early or demanding higher doses… that doctors should not assume the patient is addicted. Instead, the industry’s key opinion leaders began teaching a concept called pseudo-addiction, which meant that the patient wasn’t really addicted; they just looked like they were addicted because their pain was undertreated. That instead of treating patients as if they were addicts, doctors should simply increase the dose. That’s a very dangerous message that’s still being taught today."

Read the entire interview here.

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