Chronic Pain (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Chronic Pain Management: Medications
Most medications have a maximum dose. Usually, the maximum dose is one that you cannot exceed without suffering harm to the patient. In the case of most pain medications, taking more than the maximum dose will not increase the pain relief but may cause toxic side effects such as stomach ulcers, kidney damage, liver damage, chemical imbalance in the bloodstream, or death.
Strong opioid medications are slightly different in this regard, and this is fortunate for people who suffer from severe pain. With strong opioids, the dose depends on the amount of pain. These medications should not mixed with acetaminophen or other non-opioid drugs when used to treat chronic pain. People with intense pain can take very high doses of opioids without experiencing side effects. Some people with intense pain receive such high doses that the same dose would be fatal if taken by someone who was not suffering from pain. In the pain patient, that same high dose can control the pain and still allow the person to be wide awake enough to do his or her activities of daily living.
Long-acting opioid: The best way to treat chronic, severe pain is by keeping it under control all the time. The doctor can do this by using a long-acting opioid to keep the pain under control and a short-acting opioid to deal with those few times during the day when the pain breaks through. So, if a patient is on morphine, he would receive a slow-release tablet that would keep the pain under control most of the time, and a short-acting tablet or liquid for those times when the pain breaks through.
Some opioids are not recommended for chronic pain.
Last Reviewed 11/21/2017
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