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Overuse Of Opioids In Gout Treatment

A recent study revealed that acute gout sufferers are commonly prescribed opioids when attacks flare up, despite other therapies being available.

The study pooled over 450 patients discharged via an emergency department or hospital that were diagnosed with gout.

Of those individuals, just over 28 percent were given an opioid prescription. While the average prescription lasted eight days, 25 percent of these people had prescriptions that lasted two weeks or more, exceeding the gout attack’s regular and expected course.

Therapies recommended for gout include, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, as well as colchicine, which are quite effective for decreasing the pain and inflammation linked with gout. Having said that, opioid don’t have anti-inflammatory effects, yet evidence seems to reveal that they are commonly prescribed for gout flare ups.

The team analyzed patient health records within the Rhode Island Lifespan Healthcare Systems between the years of 2015-2017.

Close to 130 individuals were discharged with an opioid prescription, who averaged the age of about 58 years old, and 79 percent were males. Patients that received opioid prescriptions were found more often to have diabetes, as standard gout therapies can lead to diabetic complications like hyperglycemia. 

Med Page Today revealed that there are some strategies for decreasing opioid overuse when it comes to gout within the healthcare world, by adding prompt within the electronic health record system when it comes to recommending less powerful agents and shorter treatment time periods or avoiding these types of prescriptions all together.

It’s important to note, there were limitations to the research, which includes the fact that administrative data was highly relied on and the retrospective design of the study in general.

Perhaps additional research is needed; however, this is a good check-in point when it comes to gout treatments and opioids, especially with the fact that America is dealing with such a huge opioid-reliant crisis within its general public, currently.