The question is often asked, why do I need to come off benzodiazepines. Well firstly they are harmful, and secondly, they impair engagement with psychosocial interventions. The harms of benzodiazepine use include respiratory depression, accidental overdose and unfortunately in extreme cases death.
The recently aired Addicted Australia documentary series on SBS provoked a lot of discussion amongst my colleagues on how we as general practitioners and society as a whole treats people with substance use disorders.
A patient who normally saw Dr…came to me. She needed more of her fentanyl patch.
She needed high dose opioids for her right elbow pain. These drugs were the only thing that kept the pain away, and she worked as a hairdresser, so she needed these patches and her other meds to stay in work. “I normally see Dr…This will be quick, I just need a prescription.”
More people died last year from prescription drug misuse than did on the roads in Victoria.
We as doctors are killing our patients with our prescriptions. Prescription opioids play a big part in this mortality. Most clinically used opioids are full mu opioid receptor agonists.
You’ve decided to start prescribing MATOD. You’ve decided to start prescribing either Suboxone or methadone. Great. Very soon you will develop a following of patients who will become dependent on your prescription, your signature and perhaps most importantly, you.
Patients suffering from chronic non-cancer pain who are on doses of opioid analgesics that exceed the equivalent of morphine 100 mg daily are potentially seven times more likely to die than those not taking opioids to manage their pain.