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Prescribed an Opioid? Ask Your Doctor or Dentist These Questions

What is an Opioid?

*this article provided in partnership with UHC*

Opiods are drugs that work on your nervous system to help dull pain. They also include the illegal drug heroin, fentanyl, and pain relievers  like oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, and morphine. You should always act with caution when being prescribed or taking an Opioid.

Today I wanted to share an interview with Dr. Sam Ho, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare (my medical provider as well) regarding usage of Opioids. Also follow along on social media via hashtag #infoaboutopioids to learn more!

Prescribed an Opioid? Ask Your Doctor or Dentist These Questions

By Dr. Sam Ho, chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare

 If your doctor or dentist prescribes a pain reliever, take charge of your health and find out exactly what you are getting. UnitedHealth Group medical experts recommend you ask your doctor these questions about any opioid prescription. Common opioid brand names include Vicodin and Percocet.

  1. Why do I need this medicine?

Ask your doctor for reasons why it is right for you.

  1. Are there other options that will address my pain?

Opioids are not the only option for treating pain. Other options are available. An over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol®, Aleve® or Advil®) may be enough, or, physical therapy or chiropractic care could give the same results.

  1. How long do I take this?

Extended opioid use can increase the risk of dependence and addiction. Talk with your doctor about a how long you should take the medicine and whether it should be refilled.

  1. Does this medicine line up with current medical guidelines?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published specific guidelines, directing doctors to prescribe the lowest dose for the shortest length of time possible.

  1. What are my risks for addiction?

Some people may be more prone to addiction than others. A report published by the CDC suggests that the risk of chronic opioid use rises with each additional day after the third day, with a steep rise after the fifth day.

  1. How does this medicine mix with other medicines I’m taking?

Opioids can be deadly when mixed with other drugs, especially those taken for treatment of anxiety, sleeping disorders and seizures. It’s a bad idea to mix alcohol with an opioid pain reliever or muscle relaxants.

  1. What are the expected side effects?

These vary. They might include feeling sick to your stomach, sleepiness, extreme excitement, itching and more. Talk with your doctor.

Additional resources located at the website: infoaboutopioids.com.

2 thoughts on “Prescribed an Opioid? Ask Your Doctor or Dentist These Questions”

  1. This is SO important! I have been prescribed opioids without any instructions or cautions or anything. They just sat in my medicine cabinet because I know people who have become addicted to them without realizing the risks, and I didn’t want that to become my story. I’ve seen the hurt it causes and I’m glad you’re helping raise awareness!

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