CDC: Methadone Linked to 30% of Painkiller Deaths
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the use of the painkiller methadone contributed to more than 30 percent of overdose deaths from prescription pain medications in the U.S.
Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat drug addiction, but it has also been used for chronic pain since the mid-1990s due to its low cost, according to Reuters.
The CDC report found six times as many deaths linked to methadone in 2009, compared to 1999. The agency said that the drug has more risks than other painkillers because it can build up in the body when taken more than three times a day, and lead to dangerously slow breathing.
The CDC also said that efforts are under way to warn healthcare providers about the risks, but they had yet to affect the increase in methadone prescriptions, according to Reuters. The agency added that there are many instances where the drug is being given out by providers without the proper training in pain management.
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