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What to Know About Getting Pain Medication from a Doctor

In a time when opioids have contributed to the reduction of life expectancy three years in a row, doctors have been placed in a difficult position when it comes to prescribing the medication for pain. 

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Doctors may want to treat a particular patient with opioids, but they may also be concerned with repercussions as a result of prescribing from the federal government. The dilemma causes conflict and takes away from a doctor-patient relationship. Guidelines were implemented to reduce overdose deaths, but the number of deaths continues to increase each year.

Fortunately, when it comes to treating pain, there are various alternatives to consider. If you have exhausted these resources, narcotic pain medication should be your last option. 

If you are prescribed pain medication from your primary care physician, you must follow the instructions and use the medicine only as prescribed. Even those who take the proper precaution are at risk of developing a chemical dependency. Tolerance will eventually take hold of your body, and it can lead to addiction.

If you have exhausted every resource to stop your pain and have seen no relief, it may be time to speak with your doctor. There is information you must know before signing a pain management contract, which is a process that requires you understand any risks involved with opioid treatment.

What Is a Pain Management Agreement?

A pain management agreement is a contract between a patient and their physician that demonstrates an understanding of the risks involved when using opioids. Before the opioid crisis began, these agreements were almost unheard of, and only pain management clinics and other specialists enforced them. 

As the addiction crisis worsened, there was intense scrutiny from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), so general practitioners now require patients who use narcotic medications to sign these agreements.

Doctors who implement these agreements discuss their effectiveness and provide patients with information about what they can expect under their care. In addition, they discuss how these contracts teach patients how to use medications safely and how they should store them securely at home. 

What Is in the Pain Management Agreement?

The pain management agreement contains highly personalized and private details that will vary from doctor to another. However, some elements are similar throughout these agreements. There are five essential factors to know about pain management agreements before you agree to them. If you do not agree to these elements, you must consider other options.

  1. You agree that you will only consume your medication as it is prescribed.
  2. You will allow random drug testing.
  3. You can only have your prescriptions filled at a single pharmacy, and you are OK with doctors and pharmacists sharing your information.
  4. You agree that lost, stolen, or destroyed medication will not be replaced.
  5. You agree not to use or request medication from other health care providers.

There is a lot of information to take in before agreeing to this, and you must do your homework to make sure it is right for you. 

Sources

Gordon, S. (2020, January 7). 5 Things to Know Before Signing a Pain Management Contract. from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-to-know-before-signing-a-pain-management-contract-4149991

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 22). Opioid Overdose Crisis. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

Public Affairs. (n.d.). What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic? from https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html

Griffin, R. M. (2011, March 9). Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain: Acupuncture, Marijuana, Hypnosis, Biofeedback, Music Therapy, Yoga, Massage. from https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/alternative-treatments

National Institute on Drug Abuse (N.D.) The Science of Drug Use and Addiction. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-use-addiction-basics

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