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Denying Patients a Pain Drug Because of Abuse

Letters

September 03, 2001

Re: "OxyContin Abuse May Curb Progress in Pain Field" (Aug. 13): I suffer from peripheral neuropathy in my feet due to long-term, prescribed use of a medication. At one point, the pain was so intense that I could not function on a daily basis and had to be on a three-month disability from work. After carefully and completely informing me of the drug's hazards, my neurologist started me on OxyContin. I have had great relief from my pain and have actually returned to work. Therefore, I am appalled and frightened that there is even a hint that U.S. drug officials might yank it from the market due to its illicit use and that, because of this illicit use, there is a chilling effect on legitimate use of the drug.

KEVIN CHARD

Irvine

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According to the article "OxyContin Abuse May Curb Progress in Pain Field" (Aug. 13), OxyContin is being severely abused. As a result, prescriptions of this opiate-based drug are becoming more difficult to obtain. Pain patients face the specter of being denied access to a very effective pain medicine with no effective substitutes.

Much of the rationale to limit OxyContin prescriptions centers around the OxyContin-involved deaths (more than 100 so far). In comparison, about 16,000 Americans per year die from using drugs such as [ibuprofen] or [naproxen]. It is puzzling that most of the attention has focused on OxyContin but little effort has been made to reduce the number of deaths caused by other drugs.

KEVIN FANSLER

Havre de Grace, Md.

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