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Study: Common Painkillers as Effective as Opioids in Hospital Emergency Room

This Nov. 2, 2017, photo shows tablets of ibuprofen in New York. A study released on Nov. 7, 2017, found that over-the-counter pills worked as well as opioids at reducing severe pain for emergency room patients with broken bones and sprains.

Researchers studying a hospital emergency room report a cocktail of simple drug store pain relievers work just as well or sometimes better than prescribed opioids.

The study appears in the latest issue of The Journal of the America Medical Association and could be an effective ground zero in the fight against the current opioid epidemic.

“Preventing new patients from becoming addicted to opioids may have a greater effect on the opioid epidemic than providing sustained treatment to patients already addicted,” emergency medical specialist Demetrios Kyriacou wrote in the Journal.

Studies have shown that many opioid addictions start in the emergency room, where a patient with a broken bone or another injury is sent home with a prescription for a powerful painkiller.

The study shows that patients given a cocktail of the same kind of painkillers found in such well-known, over-the-counter brands as Tylenol and Advil get the same kind of short-term pain relief as they get from the stronger medications.

The study was carried out at the Montefiore Medical Center emergency room in New York City.

Experts say as many as 2 million Americans are addicted to opioids and President Donald Trump has declared it a national health emergency.