Because of the increased risk of dependency and addiction with opioid medications it is important to for both doctors and patients to monitor the use of these drugs. There are so many warning signs and red flags that it is important to work with a doctor, especially experienced pain specialists, to control and regulate the medication use.

Here are a few tips to monitor your opioid use.

  • Establish a routine with your doctor. The most important thing you can do when it comes to opioid medication management is to work closely with your doctor to reduce your risk of developing problems with these drugs. Understand the exact dosages and times to take the medication. If you feel the drug is not controlling your symptoms, talk to your doctor before you make any changes to your routine. If you need to stop taking the drugs, do so under the doctor’s care so you can slowly reduce your intake and limit the withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
  • Understand how your behaviors can affect the opioids. It is important to talk with your doctor about your lifestyle before you start a treatment with opioid medications. Drinking, smoking, unhealthy diet, and other considerations may have an effect on the drug and how it interacts with your body chemistry. You need to discuss these risks with your doctor and determine the safest route to relief. If there are any changes to your lifestyle you can make to increase the effectiveness of the drugs and reduce your risk of interactions or dependency, develop a plan and take action.
  • Have a single point of communication. Some of the issues surrounding the overuse of opioid medications in the United States revolve around multiple prescriptions from multiple sources. To better manage the process, use only one doctor for all of your prescriptions. These should include not only your pain management drugs but also other medications you may take for additional conditions. Work with a single pharmacy that can understand your needs and help advise you throughout the process. A pharmacist can help you understand drug combinations and interactions for each of your prescriptions.

A pain management team can help you manage your opioids and other prescriptions to stay on track with the healthiest use of these medications for your condition.

Have you talked to your doctor about opioid medication management?

Image by bradleypjohnson via Flickr

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