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|Subject: Poisoning Deaths Prompt Methadone Outreach Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:11 pm|| |
Poisoning Deaths Prompt Methadone Outreach
WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- A more than threefold increase in the number of deaths linked to methadone poisoning in recent years is prompting a new public information campaign on the safe use of the prescription drug in both addiction treatment and as a pain reliever, according to a statement released April 28 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Co-sponsored by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the FDA, Follow Directions: How to Use Methadone Safely
is intended to inform health care professionals, treatment clinics, and the public about the safe use and the misuse of the drug. Outreach materials will include a brochure, a poster and a fact sheet, and a point-of-sale information sheet to be distributed in pharmacies.
While the synthetic opioid is primarily known as a tightly controlled treatment for addiction to heroin and narcotic pain medications, the recent concern has been the increase in deaths linked to its use as a prescription analgesic for patients with moderate-to-severe chronic pain. With its increased use in pain relief, the percentage of all poisoning deaths linked to methadone increased from 4 percent in 1999 to 14 percent in 2004, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The methadone safety campaign materials provide simple instructions on how to use the medication correctly to either manage pain or treat drug addiction," said H. Westley Clark, M.D., the director of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in Rockville, Md. "Our goal for this training is to support the safe use of methadone by all patients and prescribing health care professionals."
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