Although over-the-counter (OTC) medications might be adequate for alleviating pain, there are cases where more potent, prescription medications become necessary. So in this article, Dr Julian Sargon-Ungar will discuss the situations in which prescription medications become essential in pain management.
When Prescription Medications May Be Necessary
For instance, following surgical procedures or severe injuries or accidents, patients might require prescription pain medications for short-term use. Also, when pain doesn’t respond to OTC medications or non-pharmacological treatments like physical therapy or nerve blocks, a healthcare provider may recommend prescription medications.
And lastly, certain individuals experiencing chronic pain due to conditions like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or neuropathic pain might require prescription medications. This can be counted as part of their long-term pain management plans.
Risks and Challenges Associated with Prescription Pain Medications
Despite their therapeutic benefits, prescription pain medications, especially opioids, come with potential risks and complications. For one, the long-term use of opioids can lead to physical and psychological dependence, significantly impacting an individual’s life.
Aside from that, with time, the body may require higher doses of medication to achieve the same level of pain relief, potentially increasing the risk of complications and dependence. Lastly, prescription pain medications can cause side effects that range from mild to severe, including drowsiness, constipation, respiratory depression, and increased risk of falls.
Safe Use of Prescription Pain Medications
To safely use prescription pain medications and minimize their potential risks, you must strictly adhere to the prescribed dosage and medication schedule – especially as recommended by your healthcare provider. Also, you should communicate with your healthcare provider regularly to discuss your pain levels, any side effects, and possible adjustments to your treatment plan.
You must also consider a multimodal approach to pain management. This may often combine prescription medications with non-pharmacological treatments, Dr Julian Sargon-Ungar such as physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or alternative therapies like acupuncture.
Other than that, always store medications securely to prevent misuse by other members of your household. Lastly, create a plan to gradually taper off medications, if possible, as your pain improves or as you transition to alternative pain management methods.