Painkillers May Carry Risks For Veterans With PTSD.

In continuing coverage, the New York Times (3/8, Dao) “At War” blog reports, “Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to be prescribed opioid pain killers than other veterans with pain problems and more likely to use the opioids in risky ways, according” to a VA study published March 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the blog, VA “and the Department of Defense have for years been trying to reduce the use of opioid pain therapy among active duty troops and veterans amid reports of overmedication, addiction, rampant drug abuse and accidental deaths caused by overdoses or toxic mixing of medications.” Dr. Robert D. Kerns, VA’s national program director for pain management, “said in an interview that the department would draw attention to the new findings to push doctors to consider alternatives to opioid therapy, particularly” with PTSD patients.

Medscape (3/8, Lowry) notes, “Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan with mental health diagnoses, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are more likely to be prescribed opioid drugs for pain than are their counterparts without mental health diagnoses, new research shows. They are also more likely to have patterns of opioid use that put them at high risk for adverse clinical outcomes, lead author Karen H. Seal, MD, MPH, told Medscape.” Medscape adds, “Exploring other options to treat pain, such as the use of higher-dose anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and complementary or alternative medicine, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, is something that should be tried in this population, said Dr. Seal.”

Related Links:

— “For Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress, Pain Killers Carry Risks, “James Dao, The New York Times, March 7, 2012.

Posted in In The News.