Welcome to this month’s edition of Comp Medical News. Over-the-counter pain medication risks, Purdue pharma’s family ties, and how work can kill you are your headlines for May 2018.
Sackler Family Under Fire in Midst of Opioid Crisis
The wealthy and philanthropic Sackler family of New York (some of which owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin) is facing additional scrutiny as the opioid crisis in America continues. Although Jillian Sackler and her stepdaughter Elizabeth Sackler, heirs to Purdue, have denied that sales of addictive painkillers have lined their pockets, a court document uncovered by the Atlantic suggests otherwise. ProPublica’s David Armstrong explains in his Atlantic piece:
“…an obscure court document sheds a different light on family history – and on the campaign by Arthur’s relatives to preserve their image and legacy. It shows that the Purdue family of companies made a nearly $20 million payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler in 1997 – two years after OxyContin was approved, and just as the pill was becoming a big seller. As a result, though they do not profit from present-day sales, Arthur’s heirs appear to have benefited at least indirectly from OxyContin.”
Read more here.
New Research Indicates LBP is Endemic Worldwide
Low back pain (LBP) is one of the leading causes of disability globally and a series of new articles published recently in The Lancet indicate that the problem could get worse. The researchers state that about 540 million people have lower back pain, and that that figure will jump as the world’s population ages and as populations in lower- and middle-income countries move to urban centers and adopt more sedentary lives. In an executive summary of the papers, The Lancet says that disability due to LBP has risen 50 percent since 1990.
Read more via NPR here.
New Research Suggests OTC Pain Meds Can Affect Cognition
A growing body of research is focused on how over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may have psychological effects on decision-making ability, empathy and response to loneliness and social pain. A review published in Policy Insights From the Behavioral and Brain Sciences examines the breadth and policy implications of such research.
Read more from Pain Medicine News here.
Dangerous Benzo/Opioid Duel Rx Decreasing
A new study in JAMA Psychiatry compared new opioid prescriptions nationwide between patients taking benzodiazepines and those who are not. The researchers found that, in 2015, those patients taking benzodiazepines were more than twice as likely to be prescribed opioids compared to those not taking benzodiazepines. This is a drop from 2010, when those taking benzodiazepines were nearly four times as likely to be prescribed opioids, according to the study.
Read more from CNN here.
Take-Home Naloxone Kits Help MAT Patients
A presentation at the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) annual meeting indicated that lives are saved when patients undergoing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid dependence are given the overdose drug naloxone in their take-home kits. According to coverage from MedPage Today, in a 3-month span, 12.7 percent of patients given naloxone (which rapidly reverses an opioid overdose until the patient reaches the ER) used it successfully on themselves or others during an overdose situation. Among the group of 244 high-risk patients, 31 reported using the naloxone kits to successfully reverse 38 overdoses in their community.
Read more here.
Dying for a Paycheck Author Calls Out Corporate Culture for Making Workers Sick
Slate interviewed Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business and author of Dying for a Paycheck, about how companies are “missing the point” of sicker workers in the United States when they pay for lunchtime yoga but don’t address the why workers are sick and stressed to begin with. In the book, Pfeffer calls most work environments (blue or white collar, ow or high wage) “shockingly inhumane” because of grueling schedules and lack of flexibility, among other issues.
Read the interview here.
Image Credit: Westfair Online