Tag: OTC

The Risks Of Taking OTC For Pain Management Are High

It can be an overwhelming to think about going to a pain management doctor. So most people will use medications the can get over-the-counter when trying to ease their chronic pain. And while this can work, the instructions have to be followed.

However, studies have found that the majority of those using OTC pain medications don’t and thus, put themselves at risk for other problems. One of the biggest concerns is an overdose, but there are risks of other side effects which can be serious as well. Some of those side effects include liver damage, stomach bleeding, ulcers or death.

A poll taken of 1,000 American adults with chronic pain, 30 years of age and older, that just under 45% admit they have taken more the OTC instructions recommend. Those OTC medications include acetaminophen and NSAIDs. This was without the guidance of a pain management doctor, choosing self-medicating instead.

Tolerable pain levels are different for everyone, but taking in excess of the recommended dosage of any OTC pain medication can cause significant complications and damage. Just as dangerous is combining NSAID pain relievers, which almost 40% of those polled, admitted to doing.

Any pain management doctor will tell you that patients with chronic use a higher dose of OTC pain relievers than is recommended by them or the manufacturer. The correlation between pain medication and overdosing isn’t something most patients make a connection until it is too late.

The same poll also found that just over 10 percent of the 66 percent with chronic pain had actually been diagnosed. That would me that many people trying to self-medicate their chronic pain with OTC medications instead of under the supervision of a pain management doctor.

Always Contact Your Doctor

The first thing you must realize when you are experiencing chronic pain, your symptoms won’t be like anyone else and nor will the cure be the same either. Each person is different in what their tolerance level is and there are other factors to consider as well.

The Possible Risks When Your Pain Doctor Prescribes Medication

There are many people who never experience a headache or muscle ache at some point. And for those, we often turn to an over-the-counter medication for relief. However, when the pain is chronic and severe, such as that experienced from arthritis, cancer, an injury or another issue, we seek help from a pain doctor.

The doctor will often prescribe a stronger medication such as a prescription opioid, which is a form of narcotics. Opioids are known to have side effects, some more serious than others. And if you are on other prescription medications, it can pose even more possible issues.

Your pain doctor may prescribe opioids to be taken around-the-clock to manage your chronic pain. In some cases, depending on the patient, their pain and other medications they may be taking, opioids may prescribe to take “as needed” for times when the pain “breaks through” the other pain medication. Breakthrough pain is when pain flares up, disregard of the round-the-clock pain medication.

What You Need To Tell Your Doctor

When your pain doctor prescribes opioid pain medications, you should advise them the following:

· How your pain responds to the medication

· If you are experiencing any side effects

· If you have other medical conditions that may increase any side effect risk

How Opioid Drugs Work

These drugs work using your brain, spinal cord and other parts of your body. They will bind the opioid receptors in your brain, spinal cord, etc. to reduce the number of pain messages that you brain receives. This, in turn, reduces the feelings of pain you experience.

Opioids Aren’t Friendly

While moderate to severe pain can be treated by opioids, they are not friends with many all medications, especially pain medications. Some opioid drugs are:

· codeine

· fentanyl

· hydrocodone

· hydrocodone/acetaminophen

· hydromorphone

· meperidine

· methadone

· morphine

· oxycodone

· oxycodone and acetaminophen

· oxycodone and naloxone

Most of the opioid medications that a pain doctor prescribes can be taken orally. Some of these must be taken by injection and there are some that are available in a patch now.

Should you feels as if the medications that you’re taking are having adverse reactions, never change how you take them or quit taking them before consulting with your doctor. You can always expect some type of reaction, but when they are causing you more problems than they are helping, your doctor will need to make some changes.

To just quit a medication totally on your own is dangerous and could cause a severe problem. If it is time for you to quit taking opioids, the doctor will have a process of weaning you slowly.

Side Effects To Expect

As we’ve stated earlier, you can expect to have some kind of side effect when taking opioids. This is why you need to have open communication with your pain doctor so that they can monitor and adjust as needed. Some of the side effects are:

· constipation

· drowsiness

· nausea

Always keep in mind that you should never consume alcohol while taking opioids. The combination can be dangerous and even deadly. Before you start taking any herbal or OTC medication in addition to what you’re already taking, consult with your pain doctor.