Chronic pain is a progressive disease of the nervous system, caused by failure of
the body’s internal pain control systems. The disease is accompanied by changes
in the chemical and anatomical makeup of the spinal cord. Chronic pain is a
malignancy, in the sense that when it goes untreated, it increases in intensity and spreads to areas that weren’t previously affected, damaging the sufferer’s health and functioning.
Opioids are substances naturally produced within the body to regulate pain. They are commonly known as endorphins, and recognized as producing the state of euphoria known as the runner’s high. Chronic pain victims, who can’t produce enough opioids on their own, often benefit from supplementation with pharma-ceutical opioids.
Lowering of pain levels.
Reducing suffering through restoration of functioning in life activities, as close to normal as possible.
Arresting and reversing the damage done by chronic pain to the nervous system
and overall health of the patient.
When taken as prescribed by your doctor, opioids are among the safest drugs available.
Oxycontin, like other opioids, is safe for patients who take their medicine as pre- . scribed. “Oxycontin deaths” occur in habitual substance abusers, not patients, and are usually the result of combining the drug with overdoses of alcohol and other drugs. These are deaths associated with Oxycontin, not caused by it, and they are not occurring in patients.
Opioids can be discontinued whenever they are no longer needed. Patients may
recover from chronic pain, and return to active lives.
Addiction is defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as continued use in spite of harm. Scientific research indicates that opioid addiction in pain patients is rare. If opioids make your life better by controlling pain, you are a pain patient. If they make your life worse, and you continue to use them, you may be an addict.
For most patients, their dose remains stable over long periods of time.
When opioids are taken on a regular schedule, tolerance quickly develops,and the psychological “high” goes away, leaving the user feeling completely normal. Long-term opioid users, as a group, have driving records for accidents and violations that are the same as everyone else’s.
No. Opioids improve functioning by reducing pain levels. They don’t remove
all the pain, or the ability to perceive new pain.
You may. Dependence means that if opioids are abruptly discontinued you will
have a physical withdrawal reaction, similar to having the flu. This reaction can be prevented by gradually tapering off the medication. Dependence is a physical-phenomenon, not a sign of addiction.
This should not prevent a trial of opioids. Studies at Harvard Medical School and the University of Washington indicate that a past history of substance abuse has little or no predictive value for failure of opioid treatment. If you have current behavioral or substance abuse problems, you may appear to have trouble with opioid treatment.
Constipation, nausea, itching, insomnia, and drowsiness commonly occur. All of
these side effects can be successfully managed.
No. Opioids occur naturally in the body, and are not harmful to any organ system.
They can be taken safely for a lifetime,if necessary. Anti-inflammatory nonopioid
medications,on the other hand, kill 16,500 patients each year through bleeding from the stomach, and are toxic to the liver and kidneys..
The amount that allows optimal functioning is the correct dose. There is no upper limit to the dose of opioids that can be safely used, when the medicine is increased gradually.
He is too scared. As part of the War on Drugs, law enforcement is conducting a witch-hunt against pain doctors who prescribe opioids compassionately. Most physicians won’t risk being targeted by law enforcement, because they have families to support. As a result, chronic pain sufferers have become non-combatant casualties in the war on drugs.
Reference: Frank B. Fisher, MD http://www.drfisher.org
Modified: July 20, 2005