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Denying Patients a Pain Drug Because of Abuse

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.




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.


Havre de Grace, Md.

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