Opioids medications are power pain relievers. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine are examples of prescription opioids. So are morphine and fentanyl. They can control severe pain, but may come with serious complications. For this reason, opioid therapy involves oversight and interaction between the providers taking care of you, and between yourself and your care team.
If you are interested in opioid therapy, please please review the video and frequently asked questions below. Additionally, if you have questions or concerns do not hesitate to discuss them with your physician.
Opioid Therapy FAQ
Opioids are a class of medications that work to reduce pain by reducing the pain signals sent to the brain. Opioid therapy is used in conjunction with interventional procedures, non-opioid medications and other complementary therapies.
It is important to know the risks of opioids from your physician, including but not limited to: tolerance, addiction, withdrawal, opioid-induced hyperalgesia – opioids may cause increased pain, endocrine dysfunction, immune suppression, and cognitive impairment.
Opioids therapy is often used for acute injuries, and for pain for a short duration after surgery. However, opioids may also be used for chronic pain for conditions such as cancer. Due to the high risk of side effects opioids are used conservatively for other conditions such as arthritis.
Opioid therapy requires oversight and interaction between the providers taking care of you, and between yourself and your care team. Your providers after a comprehensive medical review will decide if you are a candidate for opioid therapy, and will include a discussion of the risks, side effects and benefits as well as educate you about your medications. Your provider will initiate therapy with an opioid therapy contract that describes the your responsibilities to take opioid medication safely. Your provider will periodically review the effectiveness of your opioids, and perform drug screens and opioid pill counts. Opioid therapy may also be a part of a care team model involving pain psychology, pain management and primary care specialties working together.