Our Opiate Therapy Statement
Our goal at Hudson Spine and Pain Medicine is to improve function by reducing pain. We do this with comprehensive treatment plans that calculate risks while trying to maximize benefits. While pain medications do have a role in treating pain, we are careful and judicious when it comes to prescribing opiate medications. More and more evidence points to the fact that short acting opiates such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone (Percocets, Vicodin) are ineffective for the long term treatment of pain. We try to limit short acting opiates to three months of treatment or less. There are certain instances where these medications may be appropriate (cancer pain). In general we prefer to use long-acting opiates and adjuvant medications to treat chronic (greater than 6 months) pain, in addition to other modalities such as interventional therapies and physical rehabilitation.
Opiates have a constellation of side effects and significant negative societal impact when used inappropriately, in cases of diversion, addiction, and abuse. We try and minimize these risks by appropriately prescribing and monitoring usage.
Furthermore, opiates when combined with other medications can be very dangerous by decreasing your drive to breathe. It can also increase sedation to the point of unconsciousness. Specifically, sedatives such as Xanax or Valium and even alcohol have been associated with drug overdoses and death when taken together with opiates. Therefore, we do not prescribe and recommend that you do not take any sedative when taking opiates.