The problem with prescription painkillers
Pain. It’s a nearly unavoidable part of the human experience. Whether it comes as the result of an injury or accident, surgery, or a health issue such as a headache or infection, arthritis, or fibromyalgia, pain can interfere with the ability to sleep, work, and enjoy life. There are many ways to treat pain. Opioid drugs are one of them. Some examples include hydrocodone (used in Vicodin), oxycodone (used in Percocet), methadone, codeine, and morphine. These prescription drugs reduce the brain’s recognition of pain by binding to certain receptors in the body. In many situations, opioids are a reasonable choice for controlling pain — for example, severe pain caused by cancer. Part of the problem is that a person can develop a tolerance to these drugs. Over time, higher and higher doses may be needed to achieve the same degree of pain relief. An overdose can stop a person from breathing and lead to death. Also, the body can become physically dependent on these drugs, such that withdrawal symptoms occur if the drug is stopped. These factors are a recipe for addiction—that is the loss of control around the use of a drug, even though it causes harm to the person. What’s more, opioids can also cause a pleasant “high” and are often used recreationally rather than for their intended medical purposes, which further raises the risk of addiction. Addiction to opioid painkillers is also the biggest risk factor for heroin addiction. What is the opioid epidemic? The opioid ep...
Source: New Harvard Health Information - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Wynne Armand, MD Tags: Addiction Drugs and Supplements Pain Management naloxone narcan opioids painkillers prescription painkillers Source Type: news
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