Senior Living Insurance: New Drugs to Combat Opioid Abuse

Senior Living Insurance New Drugs to Combat Opioid AbuseSenior Living Insurance: New Drugs to Combat Opioid Abuse

A few months back, we discussed the use of prescription painkillers and the chance of addiction and abuse among the elderly. Now the pharmaceutical industry is taking steps to combat the widespread abuse of opioids.

Backed by a U.S. campaign to slow abuse of prescription painkillers, drugmakers are creating new forms of medicines that don’t lead to misuse and new products that treat dependency. If all goes will it could change the face of the $9.4 billion dollar market.

The new prescription painkillers aim to decrease the risk of dependence and addiction. One blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system, potentially lessening addict dependence. Another created an experimental medicine designed to enter the brain slowly, reducing the euphoria that can lead to addiction. Other drug companies are creating crush-resistant versions that make them less valuable to non-prescription users.

The abuse of prescription painkillers is an escalating problem. First, there are immediate health concerns. Prescription overdoses killed nearly 15,000 people in the U.S. in 2010, more than three times the amount killed by overdoses in 1999. Twelve million people in the United States age 12 or older reported nonmedical use of prescription painkillers in the past year. And nearly half a million emergency department visits in 2009 were due to people misusing or abusing prescription painkillers.

Elderly patients tend to take multiple medications prescribed by several doctors for a variety of ailments and symptoms. The overlap in prescriptions and high amount that some elderly patient take can increase their risk of prescription drug use.

Many healthcare advocates argue that painkillers are an overprescribed method of treatment that doesn’t have long term benefits. They are powerful drugs that can alleviate pain, but frequently they are prescribed to treat the wrong kinds of pain. They do not eliminate the pain itself and doesn’t help resolve the underlying medical condition. It can also have significant financial costs. The nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs.

By creating new forms of prescription painkillers that are more resistant to addiction, drug makers hope to curb the growing abuse of opioids.

At DigniCARE, we understand this and have a shared passion and vision with those of you who have committed your lives to caring for seniors. Contact us today for more information about our senior living insurance programs for nursing homes, assisted living, and independent living facilities(855) 883-6306.

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