Big Pharma’s Painkiller Fraud

In All Health Watch, Big Pharma, Featured Article, Health Warning

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that opioid painkillers have caused a deadly wave of addiction in the U.S. over the last decade.

More than 400,000 Americans have died from overdoses. Many thousands more have been turned into addicts, their lives destroyed after their doctors prescribed them pain medications that Big Pharma swore were safe.[1]

But through all the death, addiction, and pharmaceutical industry lies, one thing was assumed to be true: Opioids effectively reduce pain.

New research shows that’s not true, at least when it comes to dental pain. It’s one of the most common reasons opioids are prescribed.

The study comes from the University of Michigan. Researchers looked at more than 325 people who had teeth pulled. Some had been prescribed opioids, some hadn’t.[2]

The researchers found that patients who took opioids reported worse pain than those who didn’t.

Also cause for concern: People took only about half the opioids they were prescribed. What happened to the rest?

They may have ended up in the hands of an addict, fueling the addiction crisis.

Dr. Chad Brummett was the study’s co-author. He said the results back up previously published randomized-controlled trials showing opioids are not superior to “acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain after dental extraction.”[3]

Dr. Brummett and his co-author, Professor Romesh Nalliah, agree that dentists’ painkiller prescribing practices need an overhaul.

The American Dental Association supports opioid prescribing for up to a week. But Professor Nalliah said even that is too much.

He said dentists should cut the amount of addicting painkillers they prescribe by 90%. The only exceptions should be patients who can’t tolerate nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), said Professor Nalliah. They include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.

Research shows opioids are lousy at relieving non-dental pain as well.

Researchers from Boston’s Tufts Medical Center analyzed 23 clinical trials. These involved 11,400 osteoarthritis patients. They found that opioids provide mild pain relief…at first. But their effectiveness quickly diminishes.[4]

The data showed that the painkillers don’t improve patients’ quality of life. And they don’t help with the depression that often accompanies chronic pain.

Safer Ways to Ease Dental Pain

If you get a tooth pulled or have some other painful dental procedure, avoid opioid painkillers.

If you do take them, stop after a maximum of three days. Otherwise you risk addiction.

Studies show that a combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen works better than opioids following dental surgery.[5]

Another option is Exparel (bupivacaine). It’s a long-lasting non-addicting injection, that numbs the surgical site, suppressing pain for up to three days. Ask your dentist about it.

Over-the-counter topical oral anesthetics can relieve dental pain for hours at a time. Anbesol and Orajel are two common brands.

Many people also get relief from these natural remedies:

  • Peppermint oil soothes pain and reduces inflammation. Apply it directly to your teeth or gums with a cotton ball.
  • Studies show clove oil is a strong pain reliever. You can buy clove essential oil, or boil six whole cloves in 12 ounces of water. Apply with a swab or cotton ball.
  • Simply placing an ice pack or heating pad against your cheek in the affected area can provide relief. Alternate the two in 15-minute intervals, with 15-minute breaks in between. Finish with the ice pack.

The opioid crisis is one of the most tragic chapters in the history of the American medical profession. Make sure that you don’t become a victim.

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