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Posted 13 Dec 2010 by Drugs.com
MONDAY, Dec. 13 – Two new studies suggest that Medicare patients who take opioid painkillers such as codeine, Vicodin or Oxycontin face higher health risks, including death, heart problems or fractures, compared to those taking non-opioid analgesics. However, it's not clear if the painkillers are directly responsible for the differences in risk, experts said, and other factors could play a role. And one pain specialist who's familiar with the findings said they don't reflect the experiences of doctors who've prescribed the drugs. In one study, researchers examined a database of Medicare recipients in two states who were prescribed one of five kinds of opiod painkillers from 1996-2005. They looked at almost 6,300 patients who took one of these five painkillers: codeine phosphate, hydrocodone bitartrate (best known in its Vicodin form), oxycodone hydrochloride (Oxycontin), propoxyphene ... Read more
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