Rise in oxycodone scripts mainly for pain in elderly

CONCERN that a boom in prescribing of oxycodone in Australia is fuelling diversion for non-medical use may be allayed by a new study.

Oxycodone prescription in fact is largely consistent with appropriate treatment of pain, researchers have found.

“The available data suggest that prescriptions for oxycodone are increasing in Australia, but these are predominately for low dose formulations and for older patients,” wrote the authors from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Sydney, and the University of Tasmania. “Part of the increase may reflect appropriate prescribing for pain.”

Oxycodone prescribing incr­ea­sed 152% in the five years to 2007–08 while morphine prescribing declined by around 20%, they found. Oxycodone prescription for patients older than 60 years was particularly high, they noted. A total of 465 oxycodone related deaths were recorded between 2001 and 2009, but only 10% were due to