Archive for September, 2014

Study Finds ER Doctors Over-Prescribing Opioids for Migraine Headaches

September 4th, 2014 at 1:49 pm

over-prescribed medication, Westport medical malpractice attorney, migraine headache, migraine headache patients, opioids, prescribed medication, serious side-effects, emergency room visitAccording to a recent study, emergency room doctors are prescribing too many opioids to patients who suffer from migraine headaches. Migraine headaches account for the fifth biggest reason patients visit the emergency room.

Researchers from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, The Bronx, analyzed data that was collected for the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. This data was gathered between the years of 1998 to 2010.

During that time period, millions of patients visited the ER because of migraine headaches. In 2010 alone, there were 1.2 million ER patients with complaints of severe headaches. In 1998, 51 percent of migraine headache patients were prescribed opioids by the attending ER physician for pain relief. In 2010, that number rose to 53 percent, despite study results over the past two decades that other drugs work much better at relieving migraine pain.

According to lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Friedman, frequent use of opioids to treat migraines should not be happening. “Opioids are not as good as other medications in the short-term and they may have long-term effects that are harmful to patients,” said Friedman. The study found that opioids are only necessary in approximately 5 percent of patients. Drugs such as triptan and ketorolac work better and quicker at relieving pain compared to opioids. Yet emergency room doctors prescribe these two drugs to only 10 percent of migraine sufferers.

There is also concern that opioids actually cause harm to a patient by making the migraines worse. Therefore, this then causes the patient to visit the emergency room more frequently. The researchers recommend an investigation be conducted to find out why ER physicians are prescribing such a high amount of opioids.

If you have been prescribed medication that has caused serious side-effects, or a medication has caused your condition to worsen, contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for pain and loss.

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