Pain is an unfortunate reality for many elderly individuals. Fortunately, though, there are ways to deal with it.
Common methods include prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) medications and pain management techniques, like yoga and meditation.
Opioid painkillers, a prescription-based treatment, are popular and can be extremely potent. But they can also be very dangerous.
“Prescription opioids can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the acceptance and use of prescription opioids for the treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain, such as back pain or osteoarthritis, despite serious risks and the lack of evidence about their long-term effectiveness.”1
Given their prevalence and risks, you would expect doctors administering the drugs to give you a detailed breakdown of their benefits, potential risks and how to best avoid them.
But is this the case?
Sadly, the majority of elder Americans weren’t given advice about opioids’ dangers, says the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
“Researchers found that most older Americans who are prescribed opioids aren’t advised about the dangers of the drugs, how to use fewer of them, when to use non-opioid alternatives, or what to do with leftover opioids.”2
Risks of Opioid Painkillers
So, just what are the possible dangers of these painkillers?
These are some of them:
- Dependence and addiction
- Overdose incidents
Additional risk factors include:
- Overlapping prescriptions
- People with a mental illness
- Individuals who have abused substances or alcohol
- High dosages
- Low income
- People who live in rural areas
Fortunately, you’re privileged to read Elmwood Health Tips and are now armed with this knowledge. Many others Americans, however, may not think twice before using these painkillers. So, make sure to spread the word. It’s not that opioids are bad, though. They may have a time and place. But let people make informed decisions.
If this dilemma ever faces you or a loved one, make sure to request a full report from your physician about their benefits and dangers along with alternative options.
Pain isn’t fun, and hopefully you won’t need to worry about pain medication. If you do, though, speak up and avoid unnecessary additional pain.
Has a doctor ever prescribed opioids for you or a loved one?
Did they inform you about their potential dangers and how to deal with them?
Please share in the comments below.
Elmwood Hills Healthcare Center does not take any responsibility for this post’s content. So any action you take based on its information is strictly at your own risk. You should, therefore, always speak to your doctor regarding medical information and your health.