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Health News of Friday, 24 May 2013

Source: citifmonline

Patients at risk from doctors abusing pethidine - Dr. Akwasi Osei

Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatrist Hospital, Dr. Akwasi Osei, has advised medical practitioners to desist from the abusive use of pethidine as it could have adverse effects on the health of their patients.

According to him, authorities must also streamline the usage of pethidine in health facilities in order to prevent the widespread addiction of the drug amongst health personnel.

A report in the Friday edition of The Weekend Globe newspaper revealed that a number of doctors, nurses and pharmacists in hospitals across the country were working under the influence of a powerful opium-based prescription painkiller called pethidine.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast show, Dr. Akwasi Osei indicated that pethidine was a very strong painkiller which was issued to patients suffering from severe pains.

“Doctors normally give it to patients suffering from severe pains which are not able to be relieved with other minor painkillers like paracetamol and codeine. Several conditions like heart pains, cesarean sessions, and a bone pain might be very painful and patients might not be able to bear. With this situation, paracetamol might not be able to curtail the pain, thus, pethidine would be issued by health officers to decrease the pain," he said.

Dr. Akwasi Osei also attributed the addiction of pethidine to the euphoria that accompanies the usage of the drug amongst health workers across the country.

He said: “Some of these doctors might be suffering a sickle cell crisis and this result in severe bone pains, hence, being a health personnel with having prior knowledge of the drug, it is very likely you would resort to pethidine to curtail the pain each time the pain arises, thus, leading to an addiction.

“If a patient is treated using pethidine, he might view this as a normal drug and not yearn for more on the other hand, with a doctor knowing the potential of the drug, might resort to pethidine each time he suffers a strong pain to curtail the pain, thus, leading to an addiction."

In his interview, he cited peer pressure as a major factor contributing to the addiction of health workers to pethidine.

Mr. Osei indicated the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has proposed the implementation of new protocols to handle the menace. If approved, rehabilitation centers will be set up within health facilities to help control addiction among health practitioners.