Turning the tide on the harm of opioids

Doctors must discuss pain management options with patients and not jump to the prescription pad for a quick fix

Turning the tide on the harm of opioidsBy Dr. Wendy Levinson University of Toronto and Dr. Laurent Marcoux As clinicians, we’re bound by professionalism and our ethical responsibilities to do no harm, and to do what we can to address the pain and suffering of our patients. When powerful pain-relieving opioid medications were introduced a few decades ago, they seemed to be…

More isn’t always better when it comes to prescription medications

By thinking twice before prescribing and talking with patients about the risks of medications, clinicians are tackling overuse

More isn’t always better when it comes to prescription medicationsBy Karen Born and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Canadians are living longer than ever and we are also taking more medications than ever. And this can make us sicker, not healthier. A report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that one in four seniors in Canada take 10 or more medications. That’s…

Antibiotics no cure for colds or flu

And using an antibiotic when not needed makes patients more vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant infections

Antibiotics no cure for colds or fluBy Guylène Thériault McGill University and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Cold and flu season for many Canadians means getting ready to have their lives and routines thrown off by painful and annoying symptoms. This can mean days off work or school dealing with sore throats, nasal congestion and fever. For parents, it can be…

When prescriptions do more harm than good

A new national program has pharmacists dispensing advice on how to curb harmful medications, particularly for seniors

When prescriptions do more harm than goodBy Phil Emberley Canadian Pharmacists Association and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Pharmacists should be talking to patients about stopping or tapering dangerous medications, like benzodiazepines, to help curb long-term use and dependency. Sleep doesn’t come easy as we age. Take Ilsa, a 78-year-old recent widow. Since her husband passed away, she has slept poorly. A…

Putting a stop to health care that lacks value

Choosing Wisely is helping obstetricians and gynecologists target reductions in unnecessary care that may harm patients and cost the Canadian health system

Putting a stop to health care that lacks valueBirth is the most common reason that Canadian women are hospitalized each year. It's also the root of unnecessary care. More than 350,000 babies were born in hospitals across the country last year. And the most common in-hospital surgery is caesarean section delivery, with approximately 100,000 performed annually. So obstetricians and gynecologists provide a lot of…

More isn’t always better: making better health-care choices

Canadians have more than one million unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures every year. But we can improve patient outcomes and save resources

More isn’t always better: making better health-care choicesEach year, at least one million unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures are done in Canadian health-care settings. This means that hundreds of thousands of Canadians are exposed to potential harm by unnecessary care. Unnecessary care could be a prescription drug, a diagnostic test or a medical procedure that doesn’t improve a patient’s health outcomes and…

Canada facing an epidemic of overdiagnosis and overtreatment

Patients need to be empowered to ask about the risks caused by some tests and treatments, and whether they are really necessary

Canada facing an epidemic of overdiagnosis and overtreatmentIf you knew that virtually the entire medical community was talking about an issue causing risk and harm to patients across the country, wouldn’t you want to know what it is and take part in the conversation? What if I told you that almost one-third of medical care in Canada is unnecessary and that overtesting…