July 22, 2011

DENMARK: 400,000 Danes on analgesics

COPENHAGEN, Denmark / Politiken / July 21, 2011

Denmark has the fourth largest per capita consumption of analgesics.
Photo: Thomas Borberg

Almost 400,000 Danes received strong analgesics such as morphine or ketobemidone last year, an increase of 100,000 on 2001, the Danish Medicines Agency says according to Information.

The rapid increase in the usage of, for example, opioid analgesics is causing concern among pain therapists, among other reasons because they are highly addictive.

“We feel that a large number of users become legitimate addicts. They have become addicted, are unable to get out of the addiction and no-one asks any more whether it is reasonable that they shold be taking it,” says Prof. Per Sjøgren of the national university hospital Rigshospitalet.

Denmark is now the fourth largest consumer per capita of analgesics, with usage among chronically ill patients having increased to a worrying degree, a view shared by Chief Psyichiatrist Henrik Ringdom of Hvidovre Hospital.

“There is no doubt that there is a certain percentage of the chronically ill patients that are addicted,” Ringdom tells Information.

The National Board of Health’s Head of Monitoring Anne Mette Dons goes further, saying that some of the patients who receive strong analgesics, would be better served with a different treatment.

“It is difficult for GPs to handle some of these chronically ill pain relief patients who should really be sent to specialists in pain relief,” Dons says.

Edited by Julian Isherwood

Copyright: JP/Politikens Hus
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