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Removal of wisdom teeth could lead to opioid addiction, researchers claim

People who get opioid prescriptions at the dentist office while getting their wisdom teeth removed may be getting addicted to the killer drug, according to researchers. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine found that nearly seven per cent of teens and young adults who got on the medication, went back for more within the year. 

The researchers found that more than five per cent of those patients also went on to abuse opioids. 

‘This work raises two really important related but separate questions: Do we need opioids, and do we need the procedure?’ asked Dr. Alan Schroeder, who led the team, NBC News reports. 

Seven per cent of teens and young adults who got on the medication prescribed by their dentist during wisdom teeth removal went back for more within the year (stock)

Schroeder is a clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University’s medical school.

Researchers studied more than 750,000 medical records of people who had private health insurance in 2015. 

They also looked for prescriptions that were giving to people aged 16 to 25. Roughly 13 per cent of the test subjects – more than 97,000 people – got an opioid prescription filled. 

Dentist office prescribed opioid prescriptions made up 30 per cent of all of them. Those who did not have prescriptions never went back for one later in the year.

‘Almost 7 percent of these patients had new, persistent use at least three months after the initial prescription and almost 6 percent had an opioid abuse diagnosis,’ Schroeder added. ‘That’s pretty alarming.’ 

Researchers from JAMA Internal Medicine saw that more than five per cent of those patients abuses opioids (stock)

Researchers from JAMA Internal Medicine saw that more than five per cent of those patients abuses opioids (stock)

Patients weren’t spoken to during the study, so it is unknown why second prescriptions were needed. But only about 25 per cent went back to the dentist for those drugs, with the majority going to unknown physician type, the emergency room or an orthopedic surgeon.

‘The findings suggest that dental opioid prescriptions, which may be driven by third molar extractions in this age group, may be associated with subsequent opioid use and opioid abuse,’ the researchers stated. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. Most were found to be accidentyal. 

U.S. average life expectancy has dropped as a result of so many of the overdoses occurring with young folk. 

Dentistry schools at Tufts, Boston and Harvard University are working to educate dentists about the risks of prescribing opioids. 

Dentist are taught to screen patients for possible addiction and are advised to talk to their patients about the risks.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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