Methadone linked to 30 percent of painkiller overdoses

July 4, 2012

The prescription drug methadone is linked to over 30 percent of painkiller overdose deaths, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Tuesday.

"Death from opioid overdose have increased four-fold in the past decade, and now accounts for nearly a third of opioid-associated deaths," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

Still, the drug accounted for some two percent of total painkiller prescriptions in the US in 2009.

Researchers assessed national data from 1999 to 2010 as well as data for 2009 from 13 states covered by a drug-related death surveillance network. Six times as many people died of methadone overdose in 2009 than in 1999.

Methadone has been used as a successful treatment for for several decades. In recent years, more doctors have prescribed the drug as a painkiller.

Risks associated with methadone are greater than other painkillers, because the drug often builds up in the patient's system and may disrupt breathing and heart rhythm.

Methadone used as a heroin substitution treatment did not appear to be a part of rise in , the CDC reported.

Explore further: Harmful patterns of painkiller prescriptions seen among methadone patients

Related Stories

Harmful patterns of painkiller prescriptions seen among methadone patients

November 28, 2011
A new study has shown harmful prescription patterns of powerful painkillers among a substantial number of Ontario patients who received methadone therapy to treat their opioid addiction.

Deaths from painkiller overdose triple in decade

November 1, 2011
The number of overdose deaths from powerful painkillers more than tripled over a decade, the government reported Tuesday - a trend that a U.S. health official called an epidemic, but one that can be stopped.

Heroin addicts have higher pain sensitivity, even during treatment

April 25, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Heroin addicts often have an increased sensitivity to pain, and this sensitivity does not subside over the course of treatment with methadone or other opioids, new research finds.

Recommended for you

Cancer drugs' high prices not justified by cost of development, study contends

September 12, 2017
(HealthDay)— Excusing the sky-high price tags of many new cancer treatments, pharmaceutical companies often blame high research and development (R&D) costs.

Non-psychotropic cannabinoids show promise for pain relief

September 4, 2017
Some cancers love bone. They thrive in its nutrient-rich environment while gnawing away at the very substrate that sustains them, all the while releasing inflammatory substances that cause pain—pain so severe that opioids ...

Fentanyl drives rise in opioid-linked deaths in U.S.

August 31, 2017
(HealthDay)—Fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic, is a key player in America's continuing epidemic of opioid-related overdose deaths, two new studies report.

Eating triggers endorphin release in the brain

August 28, 2017
Finnish researchers have revealed how eating stimulates brain's endogenous opioid system to signal pleasure and satiety.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

August 21, 2017
That statin you've been taking to lower your risk of heart attack or stroke may one day pull double duty, providing protection against a whole host of infectious diseases, including typhoid fever, chlamydia, and malaria.

Data revealed under FOI shows benefits of multiple sclerosis drug currently blocked by regulators

August 17, 2017
A drug that is blocked by the EU regulatory system has now been found to improve the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.