Can Non-Opioid Painkillers Help Solve the Addiction Epidemic?

Non-Opioid Painkillers

Written By: Molly Groo

Molly is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Case Manager and Vocational Services. She has a Bachelor’s in International Relations, is a Certified Addiction Counselor, and it’s currently working towards her Master’s in Social Work. Molly’s experience allows her to provide expert knowledge about solution-based methods to help people in recovery maintain long-term sobriety.

Published on Apr 21, 2020 | Drug & Alcohol Recovery

The Benefits of Non-Opioid Painkillers

Non-Opioid Painkillers

Addicts in recovery and chronic pain patients have looked for non-opioid painkillers as a viable option for years. Doctors who treat these patients are in the same boat. Many doctors have seen patients struggle with dependence on this powerful family of drugs. This quest is especially true for patients recovering from major medical procedures.

In 2019, CVS launched a program to limit how many opioid prescriptions someone could fill at one time. The restriction was the first of its kind to reduce access to addictive medicines. However, the medical community continues its hunt to seek alternatives in the forms of non-opioid painkillers.

Speaking of whether painkillers are effective…does Suboxone really block opioids?

Non-Opioid Painkillers Show Mixed Results

There’s no question that non-narcotic painkillers are essential for patients. Abuse of prescription drugs, like oxycodone, was one of the major contributing factors to the opiate epidemic. Doctors routinely prescribed patients large amounts of powerful opiates beginning in the late 1990s.

Sadly, this was a recipe for abuse and addiction. Taking these drugs can lead to dependence, increased tolerance, and withdrawal. At the time, many patients and doctors were unaware of this, and alternatives to opiates were limited. Fortunately, this has changed. Since the crackdown on opiate prescriptions, researchers have explored some new options, such as non-opioid painkillers. However, the question of their effectiveness remains unknown

One of these is a new drug called tanezumab, which is currently under review by the FDA. This drug is one of many developed by drug companies as an alternative for pain treatment. Some of these drugs had significant safety issues, but this one looks promising. While the jury is still out on tanezumab, the hunt for new options continues.

Non-Opioid Prescriptions for Patients

Generally, Opioid medications are still routinely prescribed to patients requiring the medication. However, doctors are turning to other options more often. Non-narcotic drugs, like Toradol, NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen), numbing creams, and even some antidepressants, can provide safe relief when appropriately prescribed. Some of these medications treat pain just as effectively as opiates. On the other hand, other methods of pain management include yoga, massage, physical therapy, biofeedback, and acupuncture.

It’s important to remember that someone can abuse a drug even if a doctor prescribes it. Taking more than the recommended dose can quickly lead to dependence and addiction. Doctors and medical professionals learn more about pain, addiction, and the risks of prescription drugs every year. Therefore, to ensure that you are safely treating your pain, you and your doctor should openly discuss any concerns that come up.

The Importance of Addiction Education and Prevention

Generally, education and prevention are some of the most critical tools in dealing with addiction. Since the onset of the opiate epidemic, doctors and patients are more aware of the adverse health effects of these medications. As a result, many patients are more open to alternatives. But education is an ongoing necessity- prescription drug abuse isn’t limited to opiates. Thus, speaking with your doctor about possible side effects is an integral part of managing pain and overall health.

Arming ourselves with the facts can also help prevent addiction. As a patient, having a voice in your treatment is a valuable tool. You can avoid the world of pain that comes with addiction by asking your doctor about alternative options, such as non-opioid painkillers. Being aware of your own needs is one way to empower yourself when it comes to your treatment.

Therefore individuals concerned about their prescription drug use; it’s a good idea to speak to an addiction professional. If you have an issue with prescription medications and want to know more about treatment options, we are happy to assist! Give us a call today.

Written By: Molly Groo

Molly is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Case Manager and Vocational Services. She has a Bachelor’s in International Relations, is a Certified Addiction Counselor, and it’s currently working towards her Master’s in Social Work. Molly’s experience allows her to provide expert knowledge about solution-based methods to help people in recovery maintain long-term sobriety.
Cite This Article
Molly Groo. "Can Non-Opioid Painkillers Help Solve the Addiction Epidemic?." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on Apr 21, 2020, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/non-opioid-painkillers-addiction-epidemic/.

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