With correct use, opioid medications can relieve chronic pain and improve a patient’s quality of life. However, doctors and patients need to take certain precautions before and during opioid treatment for pain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 21 and 29 percent of patients with opioid prescriptions misuse their medicine. Prescription opioids can also become a risk for people who have access to them. The right prescribing and medicating practices can ensure opioids help patients without playing a part in addiction.
When Do Doctors Prescribe Opioids for the Treatment of Chronic Pain?
Medical providers prescribe opioids to treat severe pain caused by surgery or medical conditions. Most patients take opioids for a short period, but some people with severe pain need to take them on an extended basis. The CDC recommends prescribing opioid medications when the patient:
- Has pain that causes the benefits of opioids to outweigh the potential risks
- Tried other forms of pain treatment with little to no success
- Discusses and agrees on treatment goals with the doctor
- Understands the risks and benefits of opioids through regular discussions with their doctor
Due to the prevalence of the opioid epidemic, the CDC recommends trying other methods of pain relief before opioids. However, some patients may only find success with opioids, making it important to have supervision during treatment.
How Does Prescription Opioid Addiction Happen?
Multiple situations involving prescription opioids can lead to addiction. In some cases, the patient gets addicted, while in others, someone who is not the patient misuses the opioids. Prescription opioid use disorder can happen when:
- The patient doesn’t take their medicine as prescribed.
- Someone misuses a prescription opioid that was not meant for them to take.
- Multiple providers prescribe opioids for the same patient.
- The patient develops a physical dependence and attempts to manage it without a doctor’s help.
- Someone does not practice proper medication disposal.
We can prevent many of these situations by taking the right measures. Doctors, patients and the surrounding community can work together to reduce everyone’s risk of addiction.
What You Can Do to Ensure Safe Opioid Treatment
If you receive an opioid prescription for pain, you can have a safe treatment experience by taking precautions such as:
- Letting every doctor you see know about all the medications you take.
- Disposing of extra medicine in ways that prevent misuse by others.
- Following your doctor’s directions for taking your medicine.
- Talking with your provider if you want to discontinue your medicine or increase the amount taken.
- Letting your prescriber know if you experience side effects.
By practicing these actions, you can ensure the well-being of yourself and others as you take opioids.
How MedMark Treatment Centers Help Patients With Opioid Use Disorder
MedMark Treatment Centers has opioid use disorder clinics across the United States. At each location, our staff offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT), a treatment model involving medicine that reduces withdrawal symptoms. If you believe you or a loved one has an addiction to prescription opioids, we can help. We welcome you to complete our online form or call 866-840-6658 to schedule an appointment.