Physicians are Prescribing Opioids to COVID-19 ‘Long Haul’ Patients
COVID-19 has caused life-threatening symptoms for hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, but those who are slowly recovering from the long-term effects of COVID-19 are needlessly being put at further risk. A study by the scientific journal Nature has revealed that doctors are prescribing opioid-based medicines to people who are suffering from the long-term effects of COVID-19.
While the majority of people who do not succumb to the effects of COVID-19 do recover, a percentage continue to suffer from what has been termed as ‘long COVID’. This is where the patients are still struggling with the effects of COVID weeks or even months after they have first been diagnosed.
The Nature Study Reveals Alarming Figures Concerning the Use of Opioids to ‘Treat’ COVID
The Nature study was undertaken by a team led by Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly at a Veteran Affairs facility. It was discovered that for every one thousand ‘long haul COVID’ sufferers, there was a significant increase of the number of opioid-based painkillers and medicines that were being prescribed to them. Other non-opioid but addictive medicines are being prescribed too.
The concern over this is easy to understand – the United States remains in the grip of what has become known as ‘the opioid crisis’ following an historic over-prescription of opioid-based painkillers for aspects of ill health, such as chronic pain. Prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic, the US seemed to be turning the tide in regards to the number of opioid-related overdoses per annum.
It is estimated that over three million people in the US have developed ‘long term COVID’ in which they experience the symptoms of COVID-19 much longer than most people. There is now the fear that opioids will be over-prescribed once again, leading to the US losing the battle against opioid-related overdoses.
Dr Al-Aly is Warning Doctors that Prescribing Opioids for COVID Could be Dangerous
“Physicians now are supposed to shy away from prescribing opioids,” said Dr Al-Aly. “Is this really happening all over again? (Doctors need to reconsider before) it’s too late to do something. We do not want this to balloon into a suicide crisis or another opioid epidemic.”
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