Pubdate: Mon, 02 Feb 2009
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Toronto Star
Author: Hershl Berman


Re: Health plan funds killer drug, Jan. 31

There are many readily available drugs that, when abused, can be
dangerous or lethal. The most disturbing example is the abuse of
antibiotics, which, through the development of severely resistant
strains of bacteria, kills many people every year. As does alcohol.

The story fails to point out the positive elements of the drug.
Oxycodone is often needed for proper pain control, especially near the
end of life. In the elderly, and in patients with poor kidney
function, it is the drug of choice to prevent side effects from the
toxic build-up of by-products of the breakdown of opioids.

The abuse of Oxycodone is unfortunate and the resulting deaths even
more so. However, when used appropriately under medical guidance, this
drug is a safe and essential part of a physician's formulary.

Hershl Berman, MD,

Specialist in Internal Medicine and Palliative Care

University Health Network, Toronto 
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