Addiction to Pain Medications

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The injury was months ago and youve done everything your doctor suggested but you still hurt. Over-the-counter pain remedies arent helping, and youd like to try something stronger. Should you? Dr. Edward Hill talks about painkillers and addiction in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Some people confuse addiction with physical dependence, a condition that results in withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly stopped.

Many types of non-addictive drugs can cause physical dependence including corticosteroids and beta blockers. These types of drugs should not be stopped abruptly. Instead, the dosage should be reduced gradually.

Some of the most addictive pain medications are opioids. Commonly prescribed opioids include codeine, Darvon, Demerol, Lortab, Percocet, MS Contin and Morphine.

The vast majority of people who take their pain medication as directed never become addicted, even during long-term use. The key is to take the medication as prescribed by a physician. Frequent assessment and follow-up with your doctor will ensure that youre taking the safest and most effective amount of medication.

The addiction risk is higher for people who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Dont avoid necessary pain medications because of fear of addiction. Carefully controlled pain medications may relieve your pain without causing a physical dependence.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.