Opioids given to Kids for minor pains are dangerous

Using over-the-counter medication and their over use is matter of concern for health of every person and doctors often tell about the dangers of such practice. But sometimes even doctors don't think twice before prescribing opioids to kids to treat minor pains. Most of the people are not aware of the fact that Opioids are a class of drugs which includes the illegal drug heroin. This fact is sufficient to tell about the what type of drugs are opioids are.

A research was done on Tennessee's Medicaid program by using the prescription data used for kids aged 2 to 17 years. According to that research 1.3 million kids received opioids as a prescription, which is 15% of total prescription for kids. Out of them around 500 landed in hospital due to usage of opioids. In three cases the kids can't be saved. Here this fact is to be noticed that opioids can not only cause illness but death as well.
In the above research it was noticed that 20% of the opioids prescription was for kids aged 2 to 5 years and 30% for children aged 6 to 11 years. Dental procedures like removal of wisdom teeth were the most common reasons for prescription. What surprised the researchers was that these prescription were for 7 days while such medicines are enough for 2 to 3 days. Over dosage of opioids can easily harm anybody, especially kids. Opioids are never considered as a good medicine for oral pain but still it was prescribed.

It might have occurred due to lack of information about the drug, but such thing is never expected from a medical practitioner. However opioids can be prescribed for mild to severe pain, but it is usually kept reserved for severe pains like pain after surgery or pain in terminal diseases like cancer. Opioids are good pain killers because they act very fast compared to other pain killers.

Which pain killers are opioids ?
Some of the common opioids pain killers are oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine and morphine. Before using or prescribing these medicines make sure that these are the right drug to be used.

Side effects of Opioids

  • itchiness
  • sedation
  • nausea
  • respiratory depression : this side effect occurs due to over-dosage and may result in death.
  • constipation
  • euphoria

Opioids Addiction

This feeling of euphoria make people use it again and again. Apart from the side effects the continuous usage of opioids make you dependent on it. Tolerance to this drug also increases with continuous usage and more dosage is required. Continuous usage makes you an addict of opioids and it becomes harden to get rid of it, just like smoking and drinking addiction. 

In 2011, an estimated 4 million people in the United States were dependent on opiods.
In 2013, between 28 and 38 million above the age of 15 years used opioids illicitly
In 2015, addiction resulted in over-prescription of opioids.

If you are a parent and see some opioid in the prescription medicines, then you may ask you doctor to prescribe some alternative. Awareness among guardians can also save kids from possible side effects and also make doctors to not prescribe such medicines without necessity.

Reference:
https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20180716/opioids-given-too-easily-to-children-study-finds
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opioid
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