Doctor filling out a prescription form

You Have Options if You Don’t Want to Be Prescribed Opioids

More than 2,600 Michigan residents died in 2017 from drug overdoses, exceeding the number of traffic and firearm fatalities reported that year.

So it’s understandable that many people would prefer not to rely on opioids to manage their pain. Duane DiFranco, M.D., vice president of Medicare Stars and Clinical Performance at Emergent, gives some non-opioid alternatives patients can discuss with their doctors:

Comprehensive evaluations: Primary care doctors can work in tandem with mental health specialists, including psychologists, who have special training to provide comprehensive evaluations of a patient’s pain. It’s one of the best, most effective ways to determine a safe, long-term way to treat chronic pain.

Physical therapy and functional rehabilitation: In certain cases, physical therapy can be a great way of relieving pain over time through the natural strengthening of the body. Functional rehabilitation also has a psychological care component beneficial to all patients.

Other drug combinations: Ibuprofen and Tylenol taken together may be as effective as opioids, but with fewer side effects and a lower risk of addiction. Also, some conditions, such as fibromyalgia, may actually get worse with opioid use. Talk to your physician.

Injections: Where appropriate, a doctor may want to prescribe injections of non-opioid drug combinations that are less addictive than opioids.

Lifestyle modifications: Weight loss, exercise, proper sleeping habits, a healthy diet and a number of other factors can all play into chronic pain. Managing these aspects can result in less pain and a healthier path going forward.

There is a way for Michigan residents to make sure they aren’t given opioids. Michigan enacted a law that allows people to refuse opioid medications by placing a non-opioid advance directive in their medical file, the Detroit Free Press reported March 28.

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Photo credit: seb_ra

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