Pain Killers: Helping or Hurting?

Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Ext...
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By Angel Fuller
Staff Writer

Doctors very often prescribe pain killers to patients who are in unbelievable pain. If taken as prescribed, pain medication can be used to manage pain effectively and will rarely cause addictions. However, if not taken as prescribed, these medications, which are referred to as narcotics, can cause anaddiction. Just some of the medication patients normally become addicted to are: morphine, codeine, vicodine, oxycodone, nalbuphine, and other numerous medications. Medications like these often affect the brain and spinal cord, and they may change the way a person experiences the pain.

If a person uses painkillers on a daily basis, the result will be addiction. The body becomes so used to the presence of the medication that it can’t function without it. Working in a local pharmacy, I see this almost on a daily basis. Patients think that because most of these medications are available by prescriptions through a doctor, that they aren’t addictive. However, I have seen people go through extremes to receive a prescription for these medications. Some go as far as mutilating themselves so they are in extreme pain and the doctor has no other choice but to prescribe a medication.

There are instances where a doctor realizes that the patient may have an addiction and will refuse to prescribe the medication. In cases like these, a patient will have a fit of rage because they “need” their painkillers. In such instances, the pharmacist can only tell the patient that they will call the doctor for prior authorization.

However, there is help for those who have become addicted to such medications. Despite all the help available for patients who have an addiction, they refuse to believe they are addicted because these medications are legal and prescribed by a doctor. Nowadays, doctors have become more aware of this silent addiction. Doctors have started to prescribe lighter medications, such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, to reduce the risk of addictions.

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