Managed Healthcare Executive | November 11, 2019
The United States is battling an opioid crisis, and it is critically important that healthcare organizations do what they can to identify patients at high risk of suffering from the negative effects of this form of pain management. One organization addressing this issue is Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA), a not-for-profit healthcare organization that serves more than 32,000 low-income, disabled, and elderly patients across Massachusetts who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. These individuals are often referred to as “super-users” of the healthcare system, as they make up only 5% of the population but account for about half of healthcare spending. Because of their complex patient profile, 20% of CCA members take opioid medications—a number much greater than the general population. This high rate, combined with the inherent challenges associated with managing pain and care with opioids, led to the creation of CCA’s statewide High Opioid Patient Engagement (HOPE) program, which manages the risk of overdose and reduced opioid dependence among members.
LabRoots | November 06, 2019
Opioid addiction is a chronic disease that can cause significant health, social, and economic problems. Opioids are a class of drugs that act in the nervous system to produce feelings of pleasure and pain relief. The overdose of opioids negatively affects a person's personal and professional relationships. Some opioids are legally prescribed by healthcare providers to manage severe and chronic pain. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, there were 47,600 of opioids overdose deaths, and more than130 people died from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2016 and 2017. Researchers in China conducted the first clinical trial of DBS for methamphetamine addiction at Shanghai's Ruijin Hospital in China, along with tests for opioid addicts. The patients are resistant to the various treatments for opioid addiction. Researchers at the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and West Virginia University Medicine are conducting the first clinical trial in the US that uses deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat opioid addiction.
The DePaulia | October 21, 2019
After more than 2,600 lawsuits nationwide involving their role in the opioid epidemic sweeping through the country, Purdue Pharma — the manufacturer of prescription painkiller OxyContin — filed for bankruptcy Sept. 16. In 2017, opioids were responsible for 47,600 of the 70,237 U.S. drug overdose deaths — with more than 28,000 of these opioid-related deaths being attributed to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. From 1999 to 2017, more than 400,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses. The declaration of bankruptcy followed a tentative $10 to $12 billion settlement with 27 states and thousands of cities and counties throughout the nation — with nearly 20 other states rejecting the terms of the settlement. Dr. Richard Blondell, physician and vice chair for addiction medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, said the company’s heavy marketing downplaying the addictive nature of OxyContin helped start the epidemic. “They promoted this drug heavily,” Blondell said. “I can remember representatives coming around with little bags, pens and clocks. They had a clock that just had 12 on there to remind us to prescribe it every 12 hours. The older physicians said, ‘Boy don’t listen to them. They don’t know what they’re talking about, these are addictive drugs,’ — and it turns out those old, family doctors were right.” Dr. Steven Aks, immersive physician and head of toxicology at Cook County Health, said it’s important to distinguish that there are two “faces” to the current opioid epidemic: pharmaceutical pills and street drugs.