New research shows a stark increase in the prescription rates of benzodiazepine and opioids by primary care physicians. Over 12% of the visits to primary care physicians offices between 2002 and 2009 involved a prescription of one, if not both, of the aforementioned drugs. Researchers evaluated and analyzed over 3 billion primary care physician visits.
This news is especially startling because as Dr. Ming-Chih Kao reports, "[Statistics show] that from 1999 to 2006, there was a 250% increase in fatal overdoses in the US involving opioid medications. More than half of the overdoses involved more than one type of drug — most commonly benzodiazepine."
The interaction between these commonly prescribed drugs are directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people per year. The researchers concluded that some of the opioid medications are being prescribed at higher rates because physicians have felt the pressure of reduced physical therapy coverages. This is in spite of the fact that ALL evidence based practice guidelines caution against the prescription of opioids and/or narcotics for spine complaints. Additionally, research continues to show that chiropractic care is superior to physical therapy when treating musculoskeletal complaints.
Reaching out, educating, and availing yourself as a conservative treatment option to your local primary care physicians is imperative.
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