Opioids are a type of medication that can help an individual manage pain from severe injuries or invasive surgical procedures. However, most Americans are fearful of using opioids due to the widespread opioid crisis, which resulted in over 42,000 deaths in the country back in 2016. Since then, numerous state-of-the-art opioid addiction treatment centers in Florida have been helping to push the number of fatalities down.
Opioid, being a narcotic pain reliever, has been one of the most effective medications prescribed to deal with moderate-to-severe pain. However, opioid use also has a darker side. These prescription medications are known to be more highly addictive than other pain relievers, and their long-term use is not recommended. Although they are safe to be used for short periods, you should be aware of some aspects of using opioids as a part of your recovery from an injury or a medical procedure.
Common Opioids That Doctors Prescribe
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin and Lortab)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin Percocet)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Opioids
- Is this the right medication for me, and why?
Asking your doctor why you were prescribed this medication should be your first question. You can frame it in a way that shows you want to explore other options. Asking if other non-opioid options can provide relief from pain during recovery allows you to explore other avenues fully. Although opioids are approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat acute and chronic pain, some of these medications can have severe side effects.
- How long do I have to take this opioid?
Opioids can be highly addictive if taken over prolonged periods of time. Therefore, it is paramount that you know when to stop or taper off the use of these pain relievers. You can start by asking your doctor to prescribe the minimum dosage. You need to find some relief and follow up on how it treats your chronic pain.
- What can I do to reduce the chances of side effects from this medication?
Taking any medication according to the prescription is vital in minimizing side effects, especially when it is opioids. In case you still feel pain after taking pain relievers, you must contact your primary healthcare provider instead of taking an additional dosage. However, there can be severe side effects like cravings or drowsiness, which need immediate medical attention. The best way to stay ahead of these side effects is to ask your pharmacist for a medication guide.
- Does my other medication interfere with the new prescription?
If you are taking additional medication for other health issues, it is crucial to make your healthcare provider aware of it. Opioids are not to be taken along with medication that is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, or seizures. Even common medicines can interact badly with opioid pain relievers. Ask your healthcare provider for alternatives that do not react to your current medicinal regimen.
- How should I store my opioid pain relievers?
This is a question you must ask without fail if you have children at home. Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, it is always wise to have a lock box to store all your medication. Opioid medicine can be fatal to children and teens. Furthermore, these are not meant to be stored in medicine cabinets in the bathroom, as they can be easily accessed by visitors and used.
- What should I do with any unused opioid pain relievers?
Under no circumstances is it advisable for you to store unused opioid medicine. The leftover opioid can be an easy target for any visitors who plan to misuse them. Some opioid addiction treatment centers in Florida offer drug take-back programs. However, if you do not have access to them, you can always flush them down the toilet instead of risking additional exposure.
- Can I share my opioid pain relievers with friends or family?
Your prescribed opioids are meant for you and only you. Since all healthcare providers quantity your opioid dosage on a number of factors that are dependent on you, it can prove to be fatal for anyone else.
The Bottom Line
Taking opioid painkillers can be daunting at first. However, if you have any doubts, you can always ask your doctor the questions we mentioned above. Doing so allows you to make a better recovery without any risk of developing an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) that may require the interference of an opioid addiction treatment center in Florida.
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