Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sanjay Gupta hosts CNN documentary on prescription painkiller abuse

On Sunday, November 17m 2012 CNN aired Sanjay Gupta’s documentary on prescription drug overdoses, “Deadly Dose”.

Gupta covered cases where young people had died from “stacking” prescription drugs and painillers against alcohol.  One particular case was with grad student by the same name. Gupta, who went to sleep after taking Oxycodone with a blood alcohol of only .04, and never woke up.

Gupta explained how the drugs suppress breathing and heart rates through the central nervous system, with cumulative effect.

Gupta went on to cover a new Washington State law restricting “stacking” of prescriptions, having a chilling effect on physicians making prescriptions for pain patients.  A central database is used to check all a patient’s prescriptions. 

Gupta also interviewed former president Bill Clinton on the problem.

My own physician recently changed my hypertension prescription for Atenolol  (a beta blocker) to a receptor antognist, Losartan, when my heart rate during an early morning physical (after a fast) was only 47.  “That isn’t good” when I sleep, he said.  I get it. 

Wikipedia attribution link for picture from Tacoma WA –  visits in 1976, 1978, 1990, 1996.  

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