Michael Jackson Death Has Pharmacists Fielding Questions

The impact of Michael Jackson's untimely death goes beyond the pop culture arena. Pharmacists are fielding more questions about the safety of their prescription pain meds in light of questions about the Gloved One's use of painkillers.

The buzz surrounding Michael Jackson's death has pervaded the public consciousness in a profound way, going beyond mere sadness over the loss of an icon. As questions abound surrounding prescription drugs as a possible cause of death, some pharmacists have found that they are fielding a greater number of questions regarding the risks involved with prescription pain medications, according to the results of a July 1 survey from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

"While circumstances surrounding Michael Jackson's cause of death are still speculative, the media attention has opened dialogue about the dangers of prescription drug abuse," said ASHP President Lynnae M. Mahaney.

Survey respondents included more than 200 pharmacists who work in home, ambulatory, and chronic care practices. Of them, 28% reported patients asking more questions about the possible dangers that come with the use of prescription pain drugs since the King of Pop's demise on June 25.

"Medications can make a tremendous difference for people suffering with chronic pain and these patients should seek treatment," said Mahaney. "However, these medications are extremely powerful and when used improperly, they can cause serious harm, even death."

ASHP offered these tips for patients with concerns:

  • Maintain a list of all medications you are taking, including the dose, frequency, and instructions. The list should be shared with pharmacists and other health care providers.
  • Stick with one pharmacy or pharmacy chain, so that your medication records will be all together in one place, thus preventing drug interactions.
  • Ask your pharmacist any questions that arise about your medications.

For other articles in this issue, see:

Senate Divided on Merits of Drug Reimportation

Innovative Pharmacy Caters Solely to Women

FDA Orders Stronger Warnings for Pain and Smoking Meds