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Saturday, 27 January 2018

Medications that relieve pain can cause dependence

The treatment of pain with opiates and opioids helps in cancer patients and others with diseases that lead to chronic discomfort. But, to be consumed without prescription can generate addiction and even lead to death. Its responsible use is ideal.

Alfonso Zavaleta, surgeon, expert in pharmacology and head of the Research Area of the Information and Education Center for the Prevention of Drug Abuse ( Cedro ) comments that these are prescribed for patients with permanent pain, such as those suffering from metastatic terminal cancer or with tumors throughout the body.

"There is a wide range of medicines that are used specifically for pain, they are powerful medications, which are sold under a medical prescription, and they have a great risk that their continued use can cause addiction, that is, they are medicines for if addictive, "he says.

It is not recommended to use it very long or in very high doses. "This opium has 25 alkaloids, of which one of the most important is morphine, which was known more than 4,000 years ago and has also been used as an analgesic and is one of the most commonly used forms of opioids that is related to addictions, "he says.

The sale of these medications is by prescription. However, it is marketed in the pharmaceutical black market. The largest crops are present in areas of the high forest such as Cajamarca , Amazonas and Huánuco . "In Peru it is estimated that, to date, there are more than a thousand hectares cultivated with opium poppy," he explains.

Although opioids are linked to chronic pain and its treatment, one of them, codeine is used in syrups and medicines to cure cough. Miguel Ángel Otoya , anesthesiologist in the Service of Palliative Medicine and Pain Treatment of the National Institute of Neoplastic Diseases, explains that his excessive consumption and without control generates dependency.

"There is a greater predisposition to generate an addiction in patients who already have a history of addiction, such as recreational smoking or cocaine, which is a factor that predisposes to an addiction," he explains.

The numbers of deaths from overdose deaths are worrisome. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States, in 2016 alone, around 64,000 people died from drug overdoses, including opiates.


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