Long Acting Opioid Prescriptions Increase Risk of Unintentional Drug Overdose, According to JAMA

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Waismann Method® Drug Treatment Center Medical Director comments on recent article and calls for physicians awareness to the risks of long acting opioid drugs. Michael H. Lowenstein, M.D. is considered an international authority on opiate treatment, addiction and rapid detoxification (Rapid Detox).

Waismann Method

Waismann Method

One of the most fundamental precepts of medicine is to ‘Do No Harm’. Yet, this study reveals that current opioid prescribing practices are failing patients. Lives are being lost that could be saved.

The Waismann Method Medical Group is calling on physicians to alter their opioid prescribing methods in light of new data that shows an increased overdose risk in patients who are prescribed long acting formulations. The results of the study data supports the belief, that long acting opioids should only be prescribed by experienced physicians who are able to safely manage these medications, in order to minimize risks while effectively treating the patients’ pain.

Published in the February 16th issue of JAMA, the study reviewed the unintentional overdose risk of patients who were prescribed long and short-acting opioids for pain. It was performed in response to the alarming escalation of opioid overdose deaths in the last 20 years, which correlates to the increase in prescription rates of opioids for pain patients. Specifically, the study measured the overdose risk associated with long-acting versus short-acting opioid formulations in 840,606 Veterans Administration patients between the years of 2000 and 2009.

The results clearly indicate that patients who were prescribed long-acting opioids were two and a half times more likely to suffer an accidental drug overdose than those who were prescribed short-acting formulations. Even more concerning is that the study showed that the risk of accidental drug overdose among long-acting opioid patients was highest within the first two weeks of starting an opioid regime. The risk of overdose during the first two weeks was five times higher than with short-acting opioid medications.

"One of the most fundamental precepts of medicine is to ‘Do No Harm’. Yet, this study clearly reveals that current opioid prescribing practices are failing patients and resulting in unintended overdose and in some cases even death," said Dr. Michael Lowenstein, Medical Director of Waismann Method. “Lives are being lost that could have been saved simply by educating patients and physicians regarding the side effects and risks associated with these drugs. There must be a fundamental shift in how physicians treat pain, and it requires that they also assess the risk of unintentional overdose before prescribing these powerful and dangerous medications.”

In agreement with the article’s prescribing recommendation, The Waismann Method® Medical Group is calling on physicians to avoid prescribing long-acting opioid medications whenever possible, to reduce the unnecessary drug overdose risk that they pose to patients. When long-acting opioids are required, it is advisable that short-acting opioids be prescribed for a reasonable amount of time before switching to a long-acting formula.

For more information about WAISMANN METHOD®, please visit http://www.opiates.com. For interviews with Dr. Michael H. Lowenstein please contact Clare Waismann at 310-205-0808 or send an email to info(at)opiates(dot)com

About Waismann Method® Treatment

Since the late 90s, Waismann Method ® has been recognized as one of the premier opiate treatment centers in the United States, specializing in rapid opiate detoxification and utilizing the most advanced medical techniques to treat opiate dependence. Located in Southern California, Waismann Method® offers a variety of programs from anesthesia assisted rapid detox to modified medical opiate detoxification methods in conjunction with our exclusive post care facility Domus Retreat Recovery Center.

Michael H. Lowenstein, M.D., Medical Director for Waismann Method®, is considered an international authority on opiate addiction with four board certifications and over two decades of experience as a pain specialist and opioid addiction expert. He is board-certified in Addiction Medicine, Pain Management and Anesthesiology. Most recently, Dr. Lowenstein completed a fellowship and earned board certification in Anti-aging, Restorative and Regenerative Medicine to enhance his understanding and treatment of the effects of opioid use on the brain and other body systems.

Accompanied by his colleague registered addiction specialist Clare Waismann, Dr. Lowenstein operates in an accredited hospital which offers specialized care for patients with specific medical and dependency needs. Doctors, therapists and staff work hand-in-hand with patients to create personalized treatment and aftercare plans designed to ensure a healthy and effective transition to a life without opiates. Waismann Method® patients achieve an extraordinarily high success rate and thousands of patients have been effectively treated using our methods. The professionals at Waismann Method® always put compassionate science and responsible care over blame and punishment. Find out more about the Waismann Method® at http://www.opiates.com

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Clare Waismann
Waismann Method
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