Monday, December 24, 2007

Pain relief - meds need to be used properly

Pain relief is a big issue – as it should be. No-one should suffer from pain if we have a way to relieve it. However, using the wrong medications for pain can result in tragedy. A case in point is fentanyl, available in a skin patch form: Improper use of fentanyl pain patches linked to more deaths: FDA.

Fentanyl skin patches are a wonderful way of giving much-needed pain relief to people who are experiencing moderate-to-severe chronic pain. The method of delivery - through the skin, makes it usable for people who have trouble swallowing or who can't tolerate oral medications. It is also quite convenient.

These patches aren't meant for headaches, short-term pain relief from surgery, or anything like that – it’s only for chronic pain or for palliative pain relief. However, people have been using it for the wrong reason and this has resulted in overdoses and deaths.

The US FDA issued a warning in 2005 about the practice and, at the time, they reported 120 deaths due to inappropriate use of fentanyl. On Dec. 21, 2007, the FDA issued a second warning for the same reason.

News for Today:

Surgeons fail to discuss reconstruction with breast cancer patients: study
Improper use of fentanyl pain patches linked to more deaths: FDA
Patients use BlackBerrys to send health reports

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