Canadian Doctors Dangerously Prescribing Fentanyl
According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Manitoba and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, half of physicians do not follow safety guidelines when prescribing the powerful medication, fentanyl. This opioid medication is extremely strong, about 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Safety guidelines for this drug indicate that it should only be prescribed to patients who have been taking 60mg of morphine for seven days or longer. This guideline is in place so that fentanyl is not a first resort and also so that the drug does not overpower someone who is not used to opioid medication. If it is given to someone not used to the drug, then an overdose could occur.
To determine how well physicians were following safety guidelines when prescribing, the researchers looked through pharmacy data of over 11,000 patients that were prescribed fentanyl between the years 2001 and 2013. They found that three-quarters of patients were prescribed the drug without previous exposure to other opioid medications. This is a very dangerous statistic.
Although this study only analyzed prescription data from Manitoba, this may be the case in other parts of the world.