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The Do's and Don'ts of Opioid Use

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Opioids such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet can be used safely for chronic pain if you follow certain precautions and consider all risks, including the potential for addiction, with your doctor. Take these steps to avoid misuse:

  • DO discuss the goals of treatment with your doctor. You and your doctor should also agree on when treatment should be stopped if it doesnít achieve those goals and what constitutes success or failure.
  • DO tell your doctor if you or a family member has a history of substance abuse. This puts you at higher risk for addiction.
  • DO consider alternative or adjunct therapy. Ask your doctor about other drugs or therapies for acute or chronic pain. Also, you may be able to use another drug or nondrug treatment along with a lower dose of an opioid.
  • DO take the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor before changing dosage or frequency. If you miss a dose, donít double up on doses.
  • DO watch for side effects and signs of dependence or addiction. Alert your doctor if you experience signs such as changes in mood, energy or concentration, unusual blackouts or forgetfulness.
  • DO store drugs in their original packaging. Put them in a locked cabinet or location where others canít easily access them. Keep track of how much youíve taken and how much should be left. Never share opioids.
  • DONíT consume alcohol. Opioids and alcohol are a deadly mix.
  • DONíT cut, chew, crush or dissolve medications. If you use a pain patch, be sure to remove the old one before applying the new oneóand ask your doctor or pharmacist how to properly dispose of used patches. Since they still contain a fair amount of the drug, youíll need to ensure that children, pets, etc., cannot come into contact with them.
  • DONíT mix opioids with benzodiazepines. Sedatives like Xanax, Valium and Klonopin, prescribed to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia, can slow breathing and be fatal if mixed with narcotic pain relievers.

Posted in Healthy Living on March 6, 2016

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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