UK regulators are turning to a different strategy to stop opioid addiction in the masses. They are going to provide warnings on drug labels to spread awareness in the masses about how addictive taking these substances really are. They will also be giving out leaflets filled with awareness information.
Opioids come basically in forms of pain medication that is generalized in the narcotics category. If used incorrectly these substances have the ability to have serious negative effects on a person’s health. Most people addicted to opioids begins with a doctor’s prescription.
The regulatory agency in the UK (MHRA) has decided that such medications in the country will now be covered ineffective labels that will clearly inform the patient of the nature of the medication. A warning for opioid addiction will also be present to help them understand that symptoms of withdrawal should be expected when they stop consuming the medication.
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Opioids have caused a massive crisis in the United States in very recent years; such medications alone have led to 46,802 deaths by overdose in the year 2018 according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now the crisis is being repeated in the UK according to a 2019 report from West Sussex NHS Trust. The report suggests that each day at least 5 people die of an opioid overdose.
Commission of Human Medicines (CHM) believes opioids are integral and successful medications for treating pain and offering short term relief to patients suffering from serious illnesses or conditions. They have however discouraged a prolonged use of these medicines in treatments for non-cancer pain relief since the risk of dependence is serious.
MHRA is also aiming to educate and converse with patients as well as healthcare professionals about the risks that come with opioids. They are expected to do so in depth so there can be an agreement on how the plan of treatment will be tailored to a patient and how long medication will last. All of this is expected to reduce the risk of opioid addiction in the masses.
Lord Bethell is the Minister for Innovation. He says the public deserves to know that addiction to such medicines can be a matter of life and death and people ought to know of the risks attached before opting to take such pain medications. Patients require support as well as thorough guidance on how dangerous such an addiction can be if the usage is prolonged. Therefore it is important that this step to make labels more direct and effective is being taken to ensure the quality of people’s lives.
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Sarah Branch is the Director of Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines in the MHRA. She considers the safety of patients a top priority and that due to this very reason they make it a point to routinely evaluate the risks and benefits linked to opioid medications.
Only last year this launched warning labels on opioid medicine packaging, this year they are taking a step further and are making these warnings even more operational and are also adding ways in which patients will be able to manage risks that come when addicted.
If you or a loved one is experiencing problems and side effects from any such medication, you should seek assistance from a doctor and report these through the Yellow Card Scheme.