Monday, July 18, 2005

The problem with narcotics

Big news about serious side effects to palladone and fentanyl transdermal. A bunch of folks died using them.

Any physician who prescribed fentanyl without being aware of and/or informing a patient of the known & extremely well-documented potential side effects of opioids (fentanyl is in this class of drug) should lose their friggen license. Respiratory depression and Gastrointestinal side effects are among these well documented expected adverse reactions and, as I mentioned, they should be common knowledge among anyone with a DEA license to prescribe/dispense these drugs (the PDR and package inserts also contain explicit information that these physicians should be familiar with). Common sense dictates that a long acting/extended release formulation of a narcotic should not be the first step in treatment for pain.

Palladone, another potent long-acting opioid, is being pulled from the market at the FDA's request. Apparently people died because they took their Palldone with alcohol.
The agency said the withdrawal was triggered by a company study that showed potentially serious or even fatal consequences if a person abusing the drug also drank alcohol. Neither the company nor the FDA reported any instances of the problem among the 11,500 people who have been prescribed the drug.
You want to use a validly prescribed narcotic pain medication? Don't take it with an alcoholic beverage. Unless otherwise directed by a physician, you should generally avoid use of alcohol and recreational drugs when using narcotic pain medications. Another note: don't use a narcotic without a valid prescription, don't abuse it & don't adulterate it in any way (especially important for extended-release formulations). You deserve the consequences of your stupid actions; patients with chronic pain conditions do not deserve to lose access to the only medications that provide them with relief because you're an asshole.

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