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Larissa Doucette

Although medications such as OxyContin®, Percocet®, and Vicodin® can help patients manage pain from surgery, injury, or chronic illness, patients need to know the risks of both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, a report in Consumer Reports warns. Almost 17,000 people per year die from overdoses of opioid drugs, and for each death, 30 people are admitted to emergency departments because of opioid complications, according to the article. In addition, emergency departments treat almost 80,000 people per year because they have taken too much acetaminophen. The report also identifies common misconceptions about opioid medications, and provides guidelines for how to safely use opioid medications and acetaminophen. Additional information about how to safely use prescription medications, including resources that can be shared with patients, is available in the Pharmacists section of the AWARXE® Prescription Drug Safety website.