Everybody lies…even the producers of the hit series House MD.
Dr Gregory House, like his namesake, Sherlock Holmes, is “addicted” to Vicodin. But not without cause: he has legitimate severe, chronic pain in his leg from an infarction that has left him permanently lame. They do not differentiate, in this series, between “addiction” (they love the idea) and legitimate dependence (they eschew it at all costs, even though it is the correct term).
According to author Andrew Holtz in his book “The Medical Science of House M.D.”, The series went from good, in addressing the reality of his pain, to not differentiating between medical need of opiates/pain relief, appropriateness of therapy (i.e. popping Vicodin that never seemed to work), and downright dismissing his pain altogether and labelling him an addict (ditch the Vicodin altogether and go into rehab).
What about the actual pain in his leg? It’s all in his head, right?
This is a second book on the series, by the same author. I wonder if it is as good? Reviews say it only addresses seasons 1-6.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about poor, weak Vicodin:
Proposed US Ban on Vicodin
On June 30, 2009, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted by a narrow margin to advise the FDA to remove Vicodin and another painkiller Percocet from the market because of “a high likelihood of overdose from prescription narcotics and acetaminophen products”. The panel cited concerns of liver damage from their acetaminophen component, which is also the main ingredient in commonly used nonprescription drugs such as Tylenol. Each year, acetaminophen overdose is linked to about 400 deaths and 42,000 hospitalizations.
In January 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked manufacturers of prescription combination products that contain acetaminophen to limit the amount of acetaminophen to no more than 325 milligrams (mg) in each tablet or capsule. Manufacturers will have three years to limit the amount of acetaminophen in their prescription drug products to 325 mg per dosage unit. The FDA also is requiring manufacturers to update labels of all prescription combination acetaminophen products to warn of the potential risk for severe liver injury.
The half-life of hydrocodone is approximately 3.8 hrs. Paracetamol, the other component, has a varying half-life of between 1 and 4 hours.
So, the main problem:
The drug House takes wears off too often and too quickly for the severe chronic pain he’s got (infarction and muscle death), He would be more appropriately treated with a nerve block or a slow-release form of morphine or fentanyl. But the show’s creators and producers were more concerned with the show than they were with medical facts and the Hippocratic Oath.