Monday, March 26, 2012

Test Yourself: Pain Patches

Pain patches, a transdermal medical patch that can administer pain medication through the skin, are becoming more widely used to treat various pain disorders. In some situations, pain patches may offer the opportunity to take a higher and more effective dose of medication with reduced side effects.  In the most recent issue of Pain Pathways magazine (Spring 2012, page 51) a quick quiz is available that may help you learn more about pain patches. Some of the answers from the quiz (answers located below) might surprise you!

-Pain patches can be used to manage arthritis, back pain, sprains/strains/bruises, shingles pain, diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).  It may also help manage many other disorders, too!

-Pain patches do NOT all contain opioids (narcotics) and do NOT all require a prescription.  Some of the patches that do not require a prescription are those that contain lidocaine and menthol.

-Pain patches sometimes work only at the site of the patch, but not always. 

-Pain patches cannot always be combined to adjust the dose.  Adhering more than the recommended dose to the skin may result in serious, and sometimes lethal, side effects. Be sure to follow written or physician's instructions when applying the pain patch. 

-You should avoid using a fentanyl pain patch if you have not used prescription opioid medication in the past.  It is more difficult to precisely monitor the dosage of drugs given through a pain patch, so fentanyl pain patches are not recommended for opioid-naive patients.

-Capsaicin patches not not always have to be applied in the doctor's office.  It depends on the dosage.

-People suffering from pain can use the patches to also reduce opioid side effects and relieve opioid withdrawal (under physician instructions).

-Patches should never be applied to the face or on damaged skin.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a lawyer located in Altoona, PA who has successfully negotiated claims for those who have chronic pain as the result of personal injury.  For more information on him and his firm, please click here.

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