THE IMPORTANCE OF OPIOID EDUCATION
At Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care, it is vitally important to educate our patients on opioids; both to be aware of the risks and side effects as well as understanding how to safely take them when needed.
Often, prescription opioids are used to help bring relief for moderate to severe pain. There is a place for opioids, but they come with serious risks and why education on this subject is so important.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS OF OPIOIDS?
Prescription opioids, if not taken properly, can result in addiction and overdose especially with long term use. Even when taken as directed, there are a number of side effects to consider;
- Tolerance—meaning you might need to take more of a medication for the same pain relief
- Physical dependence—meaning you have symptoms of withdrawal when a medication is stopped
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth
- Sleepiness and dizziness
- Low levels of testosterone that can result in lower sex drive, energy, and strength
- Itching and sweating
The risks are greater in the following;
- History of drug misuse, substance use disorder, or overdose
- Mental health conditions (such as depression or anxiety)
- Sleep apnea
- Older age (65 years or older)
Other important factors when taking opioids is to avoid ingesting the following;
- Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Valium)
- Muscle relaxants (such as Soma or Flexeril)
- Hypnotics (such as Ambien or Lunesta)
- Other prescription opioids
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO PAIN MANAGEMENT?
It is important to talk with your health care provider about the different ways to manage pain that do not involve prescription opioids. Some of these options may even work better and have fewer side effects.
These additional options include;
- Pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen
- Some medications that are also used for depression or seizures
- Physical therapy and exercise
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, a psychological, goal-directed approach, in which patients learn how to modify physical, behavioral, and emotional triggers of pain and stress.
If you have questions or wish to speak with one of Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care board certified physicians, please call 972-596-1059 or request an appointment online at www.tarponpa.com.