Month: February 2016

The Lack of Narcotics In A Pain Management Center

images (3)Narcotic medications are somewhat of a double-edged sword it seems. They are great to kill the chronic pain, but they aren’t meant for long-term use. This could be why the past decade has seen a steep rise in addiction to them.

And as the medical society is becoming more keenly aware of this problem, more physicians are leery about prescribing them. As such, a person with chronic back pain suffers, unless, their doctor has the foresight to refer them to a pain management center.

Referrals to a pain management center can be made by any primary care provider or a specialist such as a rheumatologist. Is this your doctor passing the buck because they don’t want to deal with you?

Not at all! If your primary care or rheumatologist refers you to a pain management center, it is in your best interest. A facility that is set up as interdisciplinary center, usually associated with hospitals or have an affiliation with a medical university will be able to help manage your pain – with limited or no medication

Because they are usually associated with a hospital, there are medications such as pain narcotics available. But they will first try to find ways to manage your pain without them. What experts in these facilities have found is that too often, narcotics like pain killers can cause a host of other problems.

How Do These Facilities Help?

You will be assigned to a team of specialists. They will review the files your primary care or rheumatologist sends them and then they will do their own preliminary examinations and testing. This may include blood work up, MRIs, x-rays, etc.

After they have all this information gathered, the team will review it and talk to you about your medical history. What therapy or treatments you have had and how they worked or didn’t work. You should be completely honest and open with them about any part of your medical history and your lifestyle.

They will then discuss this among themselves and create a plan that will be handled through the pain management center. You may assign to a chiropractor or physical therapist. You may have meetings with a physiologist or psychiatrist. The team may feel that you could benefit from a massage therapist.

The goal of a pain management center is to exhaust all other means of managing your pain without narcotics. In some cases, there will be some medications prescribed in very small doses for a limited time to work in conjunction with the other therapies or treatments.

Why The Hesitation Of Medications?

A pain management center is based on what research has found. And research studies have found that people actually will experience an increase in pain when they are on narcotics. Medication can change the way the human body’s endorphin system works. Endorphins are the natural pain killer. Granted, there are those who can and will benefit from narcotics, but to automatically assume that is the only way to manage pain is a mistake.

Narcotic analgesics and opioids are addictive to some patients. And there is also the concern of how their interaction with other medications. For an RA patient, opioids won’t treat their inflammation and for patients with fibromyalgia and the widespread pain that comes with, opioids only make it worse.

 

How Does A Pain Center Treat Patients With Opioid Dependence?

images (2)It’s all over the headlines about the misuse of opioids and the addiction epidemic we have in this country. As such, general primary care doctors are struggling how to treat their patients with chronic pain these days and not contribute to or start them down the path of addiction. Pain center specialists are quick to admit that they have a delicate balance with their patients who are dependent on these drugs and how they treat them.

One of the biggest challenges that all doctors have is the lack of being able to estimate of how common problematic opioid for chronic pain patients can develop. The biggest majority of those who have chronic pain don’t go on to develop such an addiction.

But because so many have, creating the current epidemic, the medical industry needs to get a better understanding on how to effectively manage the risk of drug abuse.

A pain center doctor should take precautions and look for any potential risks of substance abuse before prescribing any medication to any patient with chronic pain. This would include looking at the patient’s medical history, their family medical history including any type of psychiatric disorders or substance abuse.

If any of these are present in a patient’s past, it doesn’t mean they should be automatically denied medication. But they should be educated and informed about the risk of drug dependence and then monitored closely for potential abuse.

Medication Isn’t Always The Answer

What more doctors and patients need to realize is that medication doesn’t always have to be the answer for chronic pain. There are the false assumption and misunderstanding that medication makes the pain disappear. But when it comes to chronic pain situations, that isn’t necessarily so. For many people, it only will reduce their pain. And this is where referral to a pain center is important.

Treatment Without Opioids

For those patients that have a substance abuse history, or psychiatric disorders, a pain center can provide many other ways to get that pain relief without using opioids. A pain center that works with a multidisciplinary approach can treat patients with chronic pain regardless of their history.

And there are medications that can be prescribed that are non-opioid drugs to go along with the other methods as well. Like antidepressants, anti-arrhythmic drugs, and anti-epileptic drugs, all of which are effective to treat chronic pain.

A pain center also offers physical therapy, psychological therapies, as well as occupational therapy. There are so many people suffering from chronic pain that is not receiving the services of a multidisciplinary pain center because it usually requires academic medical center resources and not all doctors have these resources. They can, however, collaborate with doctors that do.

After a doctor has taken in all the information about a patient and considers all the possible options that are available and believes an opioid treatment is needed, but the patient is opioid-dependent, there are some other medical options. Both buprenorphine and methadone have the benefits of being a strong analgesic and may be just what the patient needs.

When a pain center treats patients with chronic pain and has a substance abuse disorder, they will also include psychological counseling in the treatment plan. It may be group therapy or individual therapy, but when substance abuse overlaps with treatment for chronic pain, the behavioral and psychological skills are the same.

For pain doctors that work independent or with a pain center, an opioid contract is a common thing to request patients sign before they begin treatment. It is an effort to establish a clear understanding between the medical team and the patient that opioids are only allowed that the doctor prescribes and can only come from the pain center’s pharmacy or a designated pharmacy.

As a Freelance Writer the past 8 years, Audrey has written on several different topics in a variety of industries. Her 30+ years in Customer Service and Sales has given her an insight into many areas, which has been helpful in her writing.

How Can A Pain Management Doctor Help The Epidemic Of Opioid Overdosing

download (23)Opiates or Opioids as they are more commonly known are and important prescription medication for any pain management doctor. However, in the last 10 years or so, they have become an abused, misused and overused medication that has sadly, been related to addiction and even death.

There Are Several Questions

When this epidemic is discussed among those in the medical industry, in particular, the pain management area, there are two questions that come to the surface: How is this happening? Who is letting it happen? What are can be done about it?

The biggest players in this epidemic are doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. So what responsibility should a pain management doctor take toward curbing and correcting this epidemic? What accountability should the pharmaceutical companies have? If there are any solutions, what are the best ones?

The CDC has recently issued the first set of guidelines for prescribing opioids. This guide is focused toward primary care physicians and has become the national standards for prescribing these painkillers. And while it is too late for millions, it is a positive step taken in the right direction.

What Are Opiates?

Derived from morphine, found as far back as the 3rd century B.C., they are a powerful painkiller. Common names for this drug are hydrocodone and oxycodone. It is believed that the Sumerians nurtured poppies and removed opium out of the seed capsules.

Opiates not only provide relief from pain, the sole intention of any pain management doctor, but they produce euphoria as well. It is that euphoric feeling that leads to abuse of the drug. Opioids are expensive and harder to acquire than the euphoric drug, heroin.

After years of using opioids, even months, a user will develop a tolerance to them. As such, they need a higher dosage in order to get the same level of relief. If their pain management doctor doesn’t approve a prescription for a higher dosage, they will resort to heroin. In fact, it is believed that 4 out of 5 opioid users have become heroin users.

The number of deaths from heroin overdose almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2013 in America. And when it comes to death from injury, opioids are the most common cause in this country.

Over 15,000 people die each year according to the CDC due to opioid medication overdoses. It is estimated that there are over 800 recreational users for each person that dies with over 30 ER visits due to opioids that result in 10 hospital admissions.

What Can Be Done?

One of the first steps is for every pain management doctor and other professions in the industry to question their patients thoroughly about any past or current alcohol or drug use. They should also check any prescription drug monitoring program that is available to them.

And the biggest step of all is to prescribe the lowest effective dose of any opioid to begin with and for only the amount that will most likely be needed. If a patient is complaining of pain after the prescription is finished, then a different type of pain management may be needed.

Every pain management doctor needs to be educated on opioids so that they can be better able to monitor their patient’s safety and recommend alternatives for pain management. The training of physicians should include the importance of developing a treatment plan in writing and create a medication agreement that the patient and them both sign, designating one physician as the sole prescribing doctor for pain medication.

Audrey has a broad range of interests and likes to be challenged to write on almost any topic in almost any industry. She finds a great interest in things that relate to her husband, their three grown children, five grandchildren, 4 dogs or 1 pet rabbit. As well as topics that relate to older homes and refurbishing them that would help with their 100-year-old house.

The Facts About Discount Medicine Services

download (22)The rising costs of prescription drugs can create huge obstacles for those who depend on their medications. Many major pharmaceutical companies are acknowledging this problem by offering assistance. However, these programs are restrictive and do not cover all patients. Discount medicine prescription cards and online services are often the only way to go for some consumers. Before signing up, there are some facts that you need to understand in order to gain all the benefits of these programs.

Is it Applicable to All?

Some pharmaceutical programs restrict access to those who have certain health plans or are in a certain income bracket. Others require customers to be over or under a certain age to qualify. A true discount medicine plan or site doesn’t have these restrictions. Some programs allow anyone to sign up or log in.

FDA Approved Medications

For the most part, you are not going to get name brand medications from these services. However, you will get FDA approved alternatives. Some consumers worry that the pills received from discount medicine stores online will not work as effectively or are manufactured in countries that do not comply with FDA standards. Yes, some online pharmacies are offering cheaper prescriptions and cut corners. Make sure your provider is FDA approved.

Savings

The savings do vary from service to service. A discount medicine card that you receive from a doctor’s office or pharmacy tends to have a 40 percent cost reduction. Some online services guarantee up to 80 percent savings over traditional pharmacy prices. Most cards do not require a fee to enroll. Online services may have an additional usage fee or shipping fee; it all depends on the option you choose.

Does Require a Prescription

Even if you use an online vendor, you are going to have to provide a prescription signed by your physician for the request to be filled. It can be a faxed or scanned copy. The pharmacist then verifies the prescription with your doctor’s office before filling the order.

Delivery Time Varies

It will take approximately ten to 15 days to receive your medication after the company receives your prescription. For that reason, these types of programs are best used for maintenance medications such as those used to treat blood pressure or heart conditions.

If you have a savings card, you can use it at your local pharmacy. This allows you to obtain your prescription the same day as long as it is in stock.

Discount medicine is an important market for many people. Without these money saving discount, millions of people would not be able to access lifesaving drugs.