In the media website, Medpage Today, a recent transcribed interview with a doctor was published talking about the subject of opioid use and chronic pain. According to the article, in the past twenty or so years, the number of opioid prescriptions for chronic pain has increased significantly and, consequently, instances of prescription opioid abuse have also increased dramatically. It has been said that opioid analgesics result in more overdose fatalities than cocaine and heroin combined.
Physicians should take note of this trend and consider non-opioid prescriptions to manage pain before they begin to prescribe the stronger and more addictive opioid medications. Vicodin, Oxycontin/oxycodone, methadone, and hydromorphone are some of the most commonly prescribed opioid medications. Informed and responsible healthcare professionals should discuss common side effects of these drugs, assess patients for potential risk for addiction, and give them warning signs when one of their drugs is leading to a dangerous side effect. Physicians may also choose to engage a patient in a medication contract (in which a patient and doctor agree to such terms as no early refills, mandatory drug tests, etc.), psychological evaluation, and urine screening for those patients planning to use opioids for long-term pain management.
It is important for doctors and patients to work together to manage chronic pain and possible opioid prescriptions responsibly and ethically. Attorney Doug Stoehr sees frequent cases in which chronic pain has resulted from an accident due to the fault of another. If you or a loved one are now experiencing chronic pain after an accident, please contact our firm to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal options.