Think Before You Fill: Four Reasons to Reconsider Using Opioid Prescription Medications

Getting a prescription from your doctor after an injury, illness or surgery seems like a no brainier. Why turn down medications that will ease any aches or pains you’re feeling? But there’s another side to many common opioid-based prescription medications you should know about before agreeing to take one regularly, even as prescribed by a physician. Here are four things you should know about opioid-prescription drugs that might make you reconsider using one.

    1. You might not need the prescription. Most people naturally assume that if their doctor recommends a drug to them they absolutely need it. In reality there are a variety of reasons why your primary care physician may recommend certain drugs. Their specific suggestion may be an honest effort to give you treatment options, but it may also be a result of an aggressive pharmaceutical marketing campaign. By all means you should follow your doctor’s medical advice, including recommended prescriptions, but don’t forget you have a voice in your medical treatment and the right to ask any questions you want, including asking for alternatives to opioid-based medications.

           2. Prescriptions can get expensive. The price of a good is generally related to a few common sense factors like how difficult it is to make and how rare or valuable it is. Pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, have seen such little consequence for increasing their prices on demand that these factors have less of an impact on their prices. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted drug companies’ ability to raise prices almost completely at their own discretion. This leaves you and your insurance agency to foot whatever bill the pharmaceutical company chooses to write you, if you still think your prescription is worth the sticker shock.

3. Regular drug use can foster addiction. Pharmaceuticals are designed to interact with your brain chemistry and often, specifically, the areas of the brain that process pain and anxiety. When you regularly use a drug to moderate pain, you are reinforcing a dangerous neurological connection in your brain that sees pain relief as intimately connected to taking a drug. Always remember that even if you use opioid-based drugs like oxycodone or hydrocodone according to your doctor’s instructions, there will always be some potential for abuse or addiction.

4. You have options. Just because prescriptions are the first treatment option your primary care physician offers you doesn’t mean they’re the only option. If you’re uncomfortable taking a medication, there may be a host of holistic treatments that may be appropriate instead. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself if you know you don’t want a prescription, especially if your concerns are related to a your or a relative’s history of addiction.

There is no such thing as a miracle pill. Your healing process will have its own ups and downs that only you will know how to handle, and deciding on a treatment plan that will get you up and running again as soon as possible is no different. Always remember to do your research, reflect, and ask your doctor lots of questions when considering accepting an opioid prescription.

Copyright 2016 Psych All rights reserved. Reprinted here with permission.

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