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Comment: Re:Accidental overdose? (Score 1) 385

by blockhouse (#38416436) Attached to: The Painkiller That Saves Money But Costs Lives

Aren't most doses measured by body weight? A 100 lb. woman taking four tylenol would be more affected than a 200 lb. woman. Perhaps a decent medical regulation would be factoring in whatever metrics are needed before dosing.

Proper dosing of opioids depends on a number of factors. Weight, as you mentioned, is one of them. Depending on exactly what opioid it is, you also have to consider renal function, kidney function, other drugs that might interact, and whether the patient has any genetic differences that may make them respond in a way you wouldn't expect. You also have to consider prior exposure to other opioids, as the patient may have developed cross-tolerance. Then too you have to look at the kind of social support they have, and whether they have any risk factors for adverse events. You probably want to be a little more conservative with the frail 80 year old patient who lives alone because a fall could be devastating.

Bottom line, there are so many factors in play that many prescribers pick a conservative dose and titrate upward until the desired therapeutic effect is seen.

Comment: Re:Accidental overdose? (Score 1) 385

by blockhouse (#38416384) Attached to: The Painkiller That Saves Money But Costs Lives

> According to Wikipedia, an overdose "describes the ingestion or application of a drug or other substance in quantities greater than are recommended[1] or generally practiced.[2]"

So your use of the word is incorrect.

We don't recommend "ingestion or application of a drug or other substance" in quantities greater than what your body can handle, so therefore taking more drug that the body can handle is, in fact, overdose.

Seriously, you're going to bicker over semantics?

I know, I know, I must be new here, etc. etc.

Comment: Re:it is harder to get high on (Score 4, Informative) 385

by blockhouse (#38416328) Attached to: The Painkiller That Saves Money But Costs Lives

It's prescribed as a painkiller more often than as a treatment. I'm a pharmacist and I go through methadone like mad and not on the prescriptions I fill is for addicition.

That's because in order to use methadone to maintain addiction, both the prescriber and the dispensing pharmacy have to be specially licensed. I've never heard of a chain or independent community pharmacy licensed as such. Methadone clinics usually have the prescribers and the dispensary at the same site.

Suboxone and the other buprenorphine-containing compounds have similar restrictions on the prescribers but not on the dispensing pharmacies. That's why you see DEA numbers starting with X on Suboxone scripts . . . it means the prescriber has been specifically licensed to manage opioid dependency.

Comment: Re:it is harder to get high on (Score 4, Informative) 385

by blockhouse (#38416240) Attached to: The Painkiller That Saves Money But Costs Lives

Why not use diamorphine?

Too short of a duration of action. The purpose of using morphine as a replacement for OxyContin is because it's long acting, providing analgesia throughout the day. Diamorphine has a short, intense onset (which is why it's so addictive) and a similarly rapid cessation.

The current regulatory environment in the US, where diamorphine is Schedule I, may also have something to do with it.

(For those who are less pharmaceutically inclined, diamorphine = heroin.)

Comment: Re:The webcam light... (Score 1) 330

by blockhouse (#36387694) Attached to: School District Hit With New Mac Spying Lawsuit

Depiction of nudity, even of minors, does not in se constitute child pornography in the United States. Refer to 18 USC 2256. The depiction has to be of sexually explicit conduct, which is defined as actual or simulated intercourse, bestiality, masturbation, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic region. Now, if they were in flagrante, then I would agree with you. But there are thousands of parents who have taken pictures of their children in the bathtub, and they're not (typically) considered child pornographers.

Comment: This bothers me (Score 3, Insightful) 875

by blockhouse (#29752761) Attached to: 1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right In Finland

What bothers me about this isn't the free internet. No, that part is pretty cool. What bothers me is the underlying political philosophy. What is a "right?" When do they start? Who creates them?

According to what Jefferson laid out in the Declaration of Independence, rights are inborn into the nature of each person. They are endowed to everyone by their Creator. The distinction here is critical. Rights are inherent in the nature of the human being and an integral part of human dignity -- they are not given by a government. A government cannot give or abolish rights. A person has rights regardless of what his government says. A government can only protect or infringe them.

(That said, a person can abrogate his own rights through the exercise of criminal activity -- this is why governments can licitly infringe on the rights of criminals by imprisoning them.)

Now, if someone has a right to a broadband connection, that means he has always had this right. All humans in all times and places have always had the right to a broadband connection, because this right is a part of their nature. Now, given the fact that broadband connections have not always existed, it's difficult to see how having a broadband connection is an inherent part of human dignity.

It bothers me that lot of Americans seem a bit fuzzy on the concept of rights and are departing more and more from the Locke-Paine-Jefferson school of thought. Ask any given sample of Americans about the subject, and I'll bet 95% of them would say that rights come from the government. A people who look to their government rather to themselves as a source of their rights is a people cowed by tyranny.

Comment: Re:Beware of namechanges (Score 1) 629

by blockhouse (#28935325) Attached to: RadioShack To Rebrand As "The Shack"?

how many people here know the resistor coloring codes to even know if they were looking at a 150k Ohm 1 watt resister with a 5% tolerance?

I remember the mnemonic for it. Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly. Black=0, Brown=1, Red=2, Orange=3, etc.

Learned it from my dad, a cold warrior who spent his Air Force career in a ballistic missile silo and had to know basic electronics in case something went wrong.

Comment: Re:Doesn't make much sense (Score 1) 65

by blockhouse (#28579103) Attached to: Fake Tamiflu "Out-Spams Viagra On Web"

Tamiflu is rx only because it can cause psychotic symptoms, particularly in pediatric patients. It's not as safe as most otc products and requires closer monitoring.

Another reason to make it rx only is to prevent people from hoarding it and profiteering from a pandemic. This might happen anyway, but it's harder to do. Pharmacies are under a lot more scrutiny regarding their financial practices than John Q. Public.

Yet another reason that it's good to be rx only is that Tamiflu is covered by most people's prescription insurance. Were it over the counter, insurances wouldn't cover it. When Zyrtec made the switch from rx only to otc, insurance plans dropped it like a hot potato.

And then there's protecting physicians' income streams. Docs will gladly write you a prescription for Tamiflu, and charge you a $45 office visit fee. Were it otc, that income stream would dry up.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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