Opioid prescriptions in Canada increase

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 53 , No. 8 , October 2011 , Pages 430 News

An SFU study has found that starkly increasing prescription of strong opioids is driving up dispensation of the painkillers in Canada. World Health Organization (WHO) standards define strong opioids as hydrocodone, hy­dro­morophone, oxycodone, fentanyl, mep­eridine, methadone and morphine. Codeine and its combination products are defined as weak opioids.

The study, “Differences and over-time changes in levels of prescription opioid analgesic dispensing from retail pharmacies in Canada,” analyzes dispensing data for opioids-related prescriptions. It is based on a representative sample of 2700 retail pharmacies in 10 provinces between 2005 and 2010. The Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety Journal published the study’s results online in its July 2011 issue. 

The study notes that although strong opioids are essential medication for treating severe and chronic pain, in recent years they have been associated with increasing morbidity and mortality in Canada. 

Based on an analysis of defined daily doses (DDD) of weak and strong opioids per 1000 people set by WHO, Canada’s dispensation of the drugs increased by 13.1%. The amount of all dispensed strong opioids rose from 20.3 DDD/1000 people in 2005 to 23.0 DDD/1000 people in 2010. 
While the volume of dispensed strong opioids rose by 42.1% (7.6 to 10.8 DDD/1000 people), the volume of weak ones dropped slightly by 4.4% (12.7 to 12.2 DDD/1000 people). 

The study can be viewed online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pds.2190/abstract.

. Opioid prescriptions in Canada increase. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 8, October, 2011, Page(s) 430 - News.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.


For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply