Opioids

Monday, July 04, 2016

Opioids are prescribed to treat acute or chronic pain. With prolonged use, pain-relieving effects lessen and pain can become worse. In addition, the body can develop dependence. Dr. Edward Hill discusses opioid treatment for pain in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Opioids are natural or synthetic chemicals that relieve pain by binding to receptors in the brain or body to reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. Doctors prescribe opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine to treat acute pain or chronic pain.

Opioids can have serious risks, and there is evidence that other treatments can be effective with less harm. Opioids can cause people to stop breathing and die, especially at higher dosages or when combined with alcohol, medications or other substances.

Opioid addiction can occur when a patient has a hard time controlling his or her opioid use. As many as 1 in 4 patients receiving opioids for chronic pain develops opioid use disorder.

Empowering doctors and patients to make informed decisions can help make sure opioids are used only when they are likely to be effective and harm can be minimized. Nonopioid medications and other treatments like physical therapy can help manage pain and improve function with less risk.

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