Comparing the safety of some painkillers for the first time, researchers were able to determine that some painkillers are safer than others. The drug that raised the biggest question is opioids, the most prescribed painkiller which includes Vicodin and OxyContin.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said in two new reports in the Archives of Internal Medicine that opioid users are the ones who experienced a greater rate of serious problems as compared to those patients who were taking other types of painkillers like the coxibs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs.

According to Dr. Daniel Solomon, an associate professor of medicine ar Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the study, people have increased the use of opioid in the past decade mainly because other drugs were known to be dangerous. There was no one, however who did an analysis on opioid. Furthermore, Dr. Solomin said that opioids are actually not as good as other painkillers.

Oxycodone or OxyContin and hydrocodone with a brand name of Vicodin, have been widely used from 2001 to 2006. The use of these has been doubled probably because non-cancer patients use the said painkillers. Based on one research, one out of five American adults has received prescriptions for the use of painkiller in 2006. This is equal to more than 230 million prescriptions that have been bought.

The other year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that there has been a triple in number of opioid poisonings between 1999 to 2006, from 4,000 to 13,800. But before the said study, there was almost no information found about the comparative safety of opioids. Solomon doesn’t claim that their study is the final word. However, he said that their study can be a means to start a discussion of the good and bad effects of the most commonly used drugs.

The researchers were able to collect Medicare data from 1996 to 2005 during the first report. The said data included information from around 31,000 older Americans whom have been given the prescription of opioid, coxib or NSAID. Based on this, people who used opioid were the once who experienced higher rates of cardiovascular problems and other fractures.

The second report had the authors concentrating on the rates of serious problems that occur after 30 and 180 days to patients who have been taking opioid. The researchers found out that patients who were taking codeine or oxycodone opioid were more likely to die from any cause as compared to those who were taking hydrocodone (Vicodin) which is similar to oxucodone opioid but stronger that codeine.