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Doctors prescribing opioids for COVID “Long Howler”

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021 (Kaiser News)-Given the high rates of painkillers prescribed to these patients, Covid survivors may have a second pandemic, this time opioid addiction. Health experts say they are at risk.

A new study in Nature found surprisingly high opioid utilization among covid survivors with prolonged symptoms at the Veterans Health Administration facility. Approximately 10% of covid survivors develop “long covid” and often negate their health problems more than 6 months after diagnosis.

For every 1,000 long-lived patients known as “long-distance carriers” treated at the Department of Veterans Affairs facility, doctors added nine more opioid prescriptions and 22 benzodiazepine prescriptions than other methods. Did. This includes Xanax and so on. An addictive pill used to treat anxiety.

Previous studies have shown that many enthusiastic survivors are experiencing persistent health problems, but new articles are the first to show that they are using more addictive drugs. Said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, the lead author of the paper.

He fears that an apparently slight increase in inappropriate use of addictive analgesics could lead to a resurgence of the prescription opioid crisis, given the number of enthusiastic survivors. Of the 31 million Americans infected with covid, more than 3 million develop long-term symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, and memory problems known as “brain fog.”

A new study also found that many patients have severe muscle and bone pain.

Given the concerns about possible addiction, the frequent use of opioids was surprising, said Al-Aly, head of research and education services for the VA St. Louis Healthcare System.

“Currently, doctors are to avoid prescribing opioids,” said Al-Aly, who studied more than 73,000 patients at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Al-Aly looked at the number of opioid prescriptions and wondered, “Is this really happening so many times?”

Before “too late to do something,” doctors need to act now, Al-Aly said. “We need to act now and ensure that people get the care they need. We don’t want this to swell into a suicide crisis or another opioid epidemic.”

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