Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Pain management health centre

This article is from the WebMD News Archive

Concerns over painkiller dependency

By
WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks
69x75_only_1_in_20_women_with_contraceptive_coils_

27th February 2013 - A third of people in the UK who take painkillers are worried about the extent to which they depend on them to manage their daily lives, according to a new survey.

The figures are based on interviews for the not-for-profit healthcare organisation Nuffield Health with 1,659 people who've taken painkillers in the past year. The tablets range from those you can buy over the counter, like aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen to more powerful and potentially addictive prescription only doses of codeine and tramadol.

Clinicians at Nuffield Health believe painkillers are often seen as an easy or cost effective treatment option instead of treating underlying medical problems.

Incorrect medication

Patients were asked to report pain or injury in the past 12 months, including: spinal pain; muscular skeletal pain, including knee pain, foot and ankle pain and wrist and elbow joint pain; head injury; and migraine.

According to the research, a quarter of those questioned (26%) said they have taken painkillers for five years or more and one in seven admitted to exceeding the recommended daily dose of drugs in order to combat pain.

The survey also found that more than a third (36%) of people using painkillers are taking potentially habit-forming powerful drugs including prescription only tramadol and codeine. A smaller group (7%) are using even stronger opiates, including morphine and pethidine.

Experts say patients need to be aware of the side-effects of taking painkillers, which can cause sickness, stomach problems, including bleeding or ulcers, constipation, drowsiness or serious medical problems like liver disease, kidney problems and heart disease.

Consultant Spinal Surgeon at Nuffield Health Tees Hospital, Mr Manoj Krishna, says in a press release: "A lack of knowledge, or fear of treatment, can lead patients into long term use of painkillers, often without a clear diagnosis by a specialist. This can be a very bleak existence with patients becoming depressed, losing their jobs and often becoming dependent on the drugs. I regularly see patients who struggle to deal with drug addiction after their medical condition has been successfully treated."

Mind, body & soul newsletter

Looking after your health and wellbeing.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman reading supplement bottle
Do we really need them?
man holding back
Myths & facts about back pain
hands grabbing knee
How to keep your joints healthy
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
cute baby
Simple tips to keep baby's skin healthy
79x79_hairloss_in_women.jpg
Do you know what causes hair loss?
woman exercising
Exercises for low back pain
sperm and egg
Facts to help you get pregnant
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
rash on skin
Soothe skin and prevent flare-ups
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
pregnant woman eating healthy salad
Nutrition needs before pregnancy