NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATIONS
Our country and communities are in an opioid epidemic crisis. The proper use and monitoring of these medications is of upmost importance. Our office will take every measure to ensure the least amount of medication is dispensed and that the benefits outweigh the many risks. Our office will require an opioid agreement, random urine testing, random pill counts and close monitoring. We want to ensure the safest use of these medications for our patients, but also your families and our community.
For severe pain conditions, narcotic (opioid) pain medications may be prescribed. Clearly, narcotic agents are strong and potentially addictive forms of medication and should only be administered by a physician. All narcotic agents have a dissociative effect that helps patients manage pain. It does not actually change the pain or does it have any effect of the injury or condition causing pain, but works to dissociate patients from the pain.
In general, narcotic medications can be effective in treating back pain for short periods of time (less than two weeks). After the initial one-two weeks, the body rapidly builds a natural tolerance to narcotic medications and they lose their effectiveness. While some physicians believe that narcotics can be used long-term at low doses to treat chronic pain, narcotics are most commonly used to treat severe acute (short-term) low back pain or post-operative pain.
Narcotic agents have several major side effects and potential risks, such as:
- Impairment of mental function and drowsiness. Patients taking a narcotic should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.
- One of the greatest concerns with Narcotics include suppression of the respiratory (breathing) drive.
- Significant constipation. Patients taking narcotics should take care to include extra fiber in their diet, and possibly use laxatives, to avoid constipation.
- Addiction. Addiction to narcotics is probable within 2-3 days.
- Drug interaction with acetaminophen. Most narcotic agents have acetaminophen in them and should not be taken with additional acetaminophen. Patients should not take more than the recommended dosage (usually two every four hours as needed for pain) since this can lead to dangerous levels of acetaminophen.
- Drug interaction with the Benzodiazepam class of Medications. Most narcotic agents cause respiratory and cardiac suppression. Combination with other medications which also surpress the cardio-respiratory systems can be life threatening. Never combine narcotics with benzodiazpams (Valium, Xanax, Ativan, etc.), marajuana or alcohol.
13710 Olive Boulevard (Primary Office)
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Telephone: 314-469-PAIN (7246)
Exchange: 314-441-6965 (for after-hour Emergencies Only)
Monday thru Friday
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM