Are You Predisposed to Opioid Addiction?

In the US, there is an epidemic of painkiller and heroin addiction. One biotech company is developing a DNA test that can identify if you are predisposed to opioid addiction.

Pain-Relief Medicinal Risks

When using medication for pain, there is an assortment of side effects that can develop. Too much ibuprofen can cause rashes and stomach bleeding. Too much acetaminophen (especially if taken with alcohol) can cause liver damage. And these are over-the-counter medicines.

Doctors often prescribe opioid-based pharmaceuticals to treat moderate-to-severe pain. The writing of prescriptions was slackly distributed to patients young and old for too many years. In 2014, drug overdoses in America hit an all-time high. And according to the CDC, six out of 10 of those overdoses were opioid-related. Almost 19,000 people died from painkillers—most accidentally.

The Test

A cheek-swab DNA test has been created by a California bioscience lab called Proove. The physical test is combined with a patient questionnaire. One of the lead developers claims the results are about 93% accurate. The results depict a patient’s opioid addiction risk.

Some in the medical field doubt the efficacy of such a test. They believe that a good doctor monitors the patient’s symptoms and response to medication—and that’s the best “biomarker.”

Proponents of the DNA test feel this is advancement towards placing fewer people at risk of opioid addiction. Once the biotech company’s claims are peer-reviewed, more details regarding its success rate will be available.

Why Bother?

As mentioned, the numbers of opioid overdoses are staggering. But another crucial problem is the increase in heroin use. Prescription painkillers become addictive. Many heroin users begin using because it’s a similar high to the opiate-based pills, is cheaper, and more readily available.

We’re not just talking about adults here. Data collected between 2009 and 2013 from a survey of 15,000 high school students in an ongoing nationwide study was analyzed. The findings were that 75% of high school seniors who abuse opioid prescription drugs have used (or are still using) heroin.

Options

If a swab DNA test can tell you if you’re predisposed to opioid addiction, you and your doctor probably won’t want you to take painkillers. There are synthetic prescription alternatives available for short-term use like Tramadol.

There are also non-medicinal pain-relieving options as well. Numerous studies, along with patient testimony, have given Tai Chi, yoga, and acupuncture their due place at the top of “modern” healing practices. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has publicly stated that non-drug approaches to pain management can be significantly beneficial.

In the best of all worlds, you wouldn’t suffer from unmanageable pain. Keeping our bodies healthy and making safe choices can help prevent illness and injury. If, however, you find that pain gets the best of you, give it some worthy thought before taking any opioid-based medicine.

 

Red Tea Detox
Red Tea Detox

Yoga and Tai Chi Instead of Medication

Medication may not be enough to relieve pain; Alternative non-medicinal approaches such as Tai Chi and Yoga can be successful pain relievers—without negative side effects.

Tough to Admit

Western medical professionals have voiced their doubts about yoga, acupuncture, and massage as practical healing approaches. These alternative practices, until recently, haven’t offered up the data required by health insurance companies to endorse them. Thousands of years of success in relieving pain just wasn’t enough, evidently.

Numerous studies, however, along with patient testimony, has finally given Tai Chi, yoga, and acupuncture their due place at the top of “modern” healing practices. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has publicly stated that non-drug approaches to pain management can be significantly beneficial.

The Studies Matter

We are living in a time where opioids as painkillers are overused and misused. Doctors and patients have been scrambling for non-medicinal, successful pain management for at least two decades. After all, each year, there are over 125 million adults in America who suffer from some type of pain. Forty million more suffer from extreme, chronic pain.

The NIH analyzed 50 years of data from 105 randomized controlled trials. Between 1966 and 2016, alternative treatment was provided for five different ailments. They were: back pain, neck pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.

Seven non-drug treatments were utilized in the study. Among them were: yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture, massage, and relaxation techniques. They all reaped benefits to the participants, but the first-three proved to bring tremendous pain-relieving results. The study review was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The findings suggested that with prescription medicines, these alternative treatments can be extra useful. They could, potentially, however, be worthy as stand-alone, non-drug, pain-relieving treatments.

Feel Good News

This news sheds optimism on finding and utilizing methods to reduce pain that garner no side effects. If acupuncture becomes addictive, so be it. If after a yoga session, pain is reduced and energy enhanced, so be that as well. Here’s to shedding pain and gaining comfort.

Check out www.GetThrive.com for more info on pain management and optimum health.

Get Thrive Yoga Mat
Get Thrive Yoga Mat
Get Thrive Yoga Pants
Get Thrive Yoga Pants

When Painkillers Can Kill You

Certainly, there is a place for painkillers when you are in dire need. And although doctors are not as quick to prescribe opioids as they once were, there is something you may not know. When taking opioid painkillers along with certain anxiety or sleep medications, the risk you are taking may be death.

The Painful Irony

The reason why clinicians prescribe medication is to heal, reduce symptoms, and/or relieve pain. The intent is to treat and make the patient feel better. The problem we are seeing lately, however, is that combining different medications can create a dangerous risk—and the patients are not properly informed.

This is not necessarily the fault of the prescriber.

Opioid Conflict

Since the beginning of this century, there has been a “fourfold increase in deaths from overdose involving opioid painkillers.” This is just in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been warning Americans of the many dangers involved in opioid use.

Opioid-based painkillers are highly addictive. We’ve also witnessed a rampant increase in heroin use (and overdose) from those who graduate from pain pill use. But, a lesser-known peril derived from opioid use is when it’s combined with taking benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are widely used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.

Thirty percent of overdoses involving prescription opioids show the presence of benzodiazepines in the bloodstream.

What are Benzodiazepines?

This is just one example of how, as consumers and patients, we can be so uninformed. Benzodiazepines are a class of medications often prescribed to treat sleep problems and anxiety. They work on the central nervous system to reduce the activity of nerve cells in the brain.

Some brand names of benzodiazepines are:

– Xanax

– Valium

– Klonopin

– Ativan

 

Many people have been prescribed and taken these medications and had no idea they were called “benzodiazepines.”

Both opioid-based meds and benzos can create sedation, impair thought, suppress respiration, and impair physical judgment. Taking them concurrently significantly increases your risk of falling (having an accident), falling into a coma, or not being able to breathe.

A Bad Mix

A recent study researched data on 300,000 patients between the years 2001 and 2013. All of the patients had been prescribed an opioid painkiller. They found that there was a significantly higher risk of an overdose or an ER visit when the patient also took a benzodiazepine.

Here’s a head-shaking fact: According to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, over 90% of patients who survived a prescription-opioid overdose, continued to be prescribed opioids (most of the time by the same original prescriber.)

What To Do?

It’s a tricky dilemma because the “system” hasn’t quite figured out how to best inform patients so that they truly understand the risks of combining opioids with benzodiazepines. Since 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required black box warnings (the highest level of alert) on product labels. But who reads labels?

There are also patient focused medication guides for opioids and benzodiazepines. But these type of warnings aren’t being heeded.

Another concern is that communication between doctors, hospitals, and other facilities isn’t always possible. One clinician may prescribe an anti-anxiety med, while another source prescribes an opioid-based med. Pharmacists, doctors, and medical facilities may need to be more proactive about explain the dangers of drug combinations. But who has that availability of time and detailed explanation?

It seems this is the type of problem that needs to be addressed by multiple entities. As a patient, one might want to ask questions and do research before combining medications. In the meanwhile, proactivity by all parties will be helpful. Additionally, aside from medication, patients can also research other forms of pain treatment and stress reduction. GetThrive offers a wealth of guidance for best health care practices.

Sources:

https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm518697.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/index.html.

http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j1224

http://www.bmj.com/content/352/bmj.h7010?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=TBMJ_UK_TrendMD-0