The variety of opioid prescriptions crammed in Ontario has jumped by 5 per cent in two years — as much as 9.2 million prescriptions in 2015-2016, based on knowledge launched by the province’s well being advisory arm Wednesday.

Well being High quality Ontario’s report raises questions not solely concerning the growing reliance on opioids in ache administration, but in addition famous that sure areas of the province appear to prescribe opioids extra incessantly.

“​The variation by … area introduced on this report seems to show variable prescribing practices all through the province,” it discovered. 

Dr. David Juurlink, a drug security researcher and internist, stated he is involved concerning the overprescription of opioids. (CBC)

The report pulled the variety of prescriptions for opioids — together with morphine, codeine, fentanyl patches, oxycodone and hydromorphone — from the province’s Narcotics Monitoring System, a database that tracks opiates distributed at Ontario pharmacies.

It didn’t, nevertheless, keep in mind opioids prescribed in hospitals or prisons.

The report comes only a week after the Canadian Medical Affiliation Journal revealed new tips for opioid prescription, an try, its authors stated, to attempt to cope with the opioid disaster throughout the nation. 

These tips are suggestions and never regulatory necessities.

Overdose deaths

Well being High quality Ontario’s research started in the 2013-2014 fiscal yr.

In 2015, at the very least 551 individuals died from opioid overdose in Ontario, a rise from from 421 in 2010.

It is unclear what number of of these overdoses got here because of unlawful drug use or the leisure use of prescribed drugs.

Various therapies

However Well being High quality Ontario prompt physicians can take a look at various remedies for persistent ache, until it is terminal most cancers, which might embrace a mixture of physiotherapy or different medicine.

The effectiveness of opioids for persistent ache past 12 weeks has not been reliably established via randomized managed trials,” the report stated.

Solely about 24 per cent of people that crammed an opioid prescription through the first three months of 2016 acquired a provide of medicine for a interval of two weeks or much less, in response to the report’s findings.

‘Basically, the upper the dose, the extra possible it’s that a affected person is being harmed greater than helped.’
– Dr. David Juurlink, drug security researcher

The analysis raises questions concerning the prices and advantages of opioid use to sufferers, a drug security researcher says.

Within the report, Dr. David Juurlink famous that the aspect-results of opioids — together with constipation, the potential of dependence and disorientation — ought to immediate physicians to prescribe them in small doses.

“Normally, the upper the dose, the extra probably it’s that a affected person is being harmed greater than helped by remedy,” he stated within the report. “This can be a good purpose to think about a gradual taper to decrease doses.”

Provincial response

Ontario Well being Minister Eric Hoskins stated in a press release on Wednesday that the report’s findings can be “useful to our authorities as we proceed to strengthen our response to the opioid disaster.”

Hoskins additionally outlined steps already being taken by his authorities, together with reaching out to docs, nurses and regulatory schools for well being professions that dispense opioids, to make sure they’re conversant in the up to date Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Continual Non-Most cancers Ache. 

Hoskins additionally stated he plans to satisfy with a gaggle Ontario mayors on June 12 as half of a bigger session course of to deal with the opioid disaster.