While most people are purchasing over-the-counter pain relief, a new U.S. government report shows that 1 in 10 people are using some type of prescription painkiller.
But use of prescription opioid painkillers leveled off from 2015 to 2018, while prescriptions for nonopioid pain medicine rose, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This survey and other research is showing that pain management is becoming safer, reported the president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
Between 2015 and 2018, nearly 11 percent of American adults aged 20 and over used at least one prescription opioid like oxycodone or a nonopioid like Celebrex, investigators found.
Breaking that down, they found that nearly 6 percent of American adults used one or more prescription opioid painkillers, while 5 percent used a nonopioid prescription pain medication to quell their aches and pains.
For the study, researchers used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Despite a leveling off of prescription opioids, which is good news given the nation’s addiction epidemic, their use remains a concern.
Researchers said other studies looking at doctors’ prescribing practices have found fewer opioids prescribed for chronic pain.
Researchers also added that insurance companies don’t, as a rule, cover pain management, which includes not only medications but physical and psychological therapy.
The CDC report was released June 24 in an NCHS Data Brief.