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Painkiller prescriptions for pets may contribute to the opioid epidemic, warn studies



Americans may take painkillers prescribed for Fido and Fluffy. This emerges from a new study that warns that the rise in prescription opioids for pets may play a role in the US drug epidemic.

The first study published in the JAMA Network Open notes that the increase in opioid prescriptions is increasing For the people of the last decade, there are parallels with a rise in similar pet regulations and that some of these veterinary drugs may be mistaken Hands advised.

The researchers analyzed information about all opioid pills and patches used for dogs, cats, and other small animals at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Faculty (Penn Vet) from January 2007 to December 201

7.

Number of visits only increased by 13 percent per year, the number of opioids regulations increased by 41 percent.

"As we advance the opioid epidemic, we identify other routes of potential human consumption and abuse," said Jeanmarie Perrone, senior author of the study, a professor of emergency medicine and director of medical toxicology at Penn Medicine. "Even if the veterinarian's intention to increase prescribed animal opioids may well increase, this may mean that remaining pills will later be misused, sold or diverted by household members, or endanger children by unintentional exposure."

For humans The current opioid crisis in the United States has had devastating consequences. The abuse of prescription and illegal opioids resulted in nearly 400,000 drug overdoses from 1999 to 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of overdose deaths with opioids in 2017 was six times higher than in 1999.

Perrone notes that there are currently no data on how many people can abuse opioids prescribed for pets she believes that this is the case cause for concern.

"It may be a very small number, but we are definitely worried that pill remnants will cause them to be abused by teenagers or unintentional infant exposures ," she told CBS News. "We know leftover opioids were a big driver of the opioid crisis, wherever they are left."

And the researchers warn that, since the prescription of opioids in veterinary medicine is nowhere near as strong as the prescriptions there is a possibility that abusive prescriptions of veterinary medicines may contribute to the progressive epidemic epidemic.

Anecdotes about vet-prescribed opioids used by humans have already encouraged some states to act. For example, Maine and Colorado now require a background check on pet owners' history of opioids before a veterinarian can write an opioid prescription for an animal. Alaska, Connecticut, and Virginia limit the number of opioids a veterinarian can prescribe to a single patient. And in 20 states, veterinarians must now report their opioid prescriptions in a central database, just as Doctors do for humans.

Perrone says efforts must be made to reduce pet opioid prescriptions, similar to the current measures implemented for humans . At Penn Vet, such measures include encouraging veterinarians to use local anesthetics for postoperative pain instead of opioids, pain assessments to control the use of opioids, and closer monitoring of animals that require a long time-term opioid use, such as Dogs taking hydrocodone for chronic cough.

The pet owners are also taught how to discard the pills that are no longer needed.

"This is one more way to address safe storage, rational prescriptions, and opiate alternatives in another population," Perrone said.


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