You are in pain and you need help. Your doctor wants to prescribe you an opiate painkiller. Should you take it? You’ve been watching the news and learned how dangerous these prescription opioid drugs can be- nearly 2 million people in the U.S. have become dependent on them or have abused opioids in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, should you take them? This decision is something many of us will have to face at some point in our life. Here are some questions you and your doctor should consider before saying yes to a prescription of opioid painkillers:
- How do I know if I am at a high risk for becoming addicted? If you or someone in your family has a history of substance abuse with legal drugs, illegal drugs, tobacco or alcohol, you may be more likely to become addicted to prescription painkillers. A history of a psychiatric disease such as anxiety or depression can also put you at higher risk of addiction.
- Is medication necessary? According to experts, opioids are good for cancer pain and post-surgery pain, however, in instances of chronic pain, like back pain or headaches, opioid medication is not necessary. There can be better alternatives.
- Am I being given the lowest dosage? According to the CDC guidelines, doctors should “start low and go slow” with prescription opioid medication.
- How long do I need to be on them? When taking opioids, you want to get a clear definition from your doctor about how long you are expected to use them. Usually an opioid prescription is given after a sudden incident, such as throwing out your back. In this case, it is recommended by the CDC that the drugs are prescribed for three days or less. More than seven days is rarely needed.
- What if I become dependent? You should ask your doctor for their plan if you do become dependent to your prescribed drugs. You should also ask them if they know how to taper someone off of opioid drugs.
Do you know someone that could be suffering from Opioid Dependency? Contact Segal Institute at 1-877-SEGAL-88 to see if they may qualify for our clinical research study for opioid dependency! OR visit http://www.segaltrials.com/request-a-pre-screen/