Questions to ask doctor before taking opioids

  • Saturday, February 24, 2018 1:30am
  • Opinion

By Dr. Sam Ho

If your doctor or dentist prescribes a pain reliever, take charge of your health and find out exactly what you are getting.

Experts recommend you ask your doctor these questions about any opioid prescription. Common opioid brand names include Vicodin and Percocet.

•Why do I need this medicine? Ask your doctor for reasons why it is right for you.

•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.

•How long do I take this? Extended opioid use can increase the risk of dependence and addiction. Talk with your doctor about how long you should take the medicine and whether it should be refilled.

•Does this medicine line up with current medical guidelines? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published specific guidelines, directing doctors to prescribe the lowest dose for the shortest length of time possible.

•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.

•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.

•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.

For more go to newsroom.uhc.com/opioids.html.

Dr. Sam Ho is the chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare.

More in Opinion

Redefining success – A cultural shift from college to careers

By Brian Long Like many of our students, I grew up in… Continue reading

Easter can handle our doubts

By Jenny Smith Five years ago, I spent one glorious evening with… Continue reading

Arlington careful in planning growth

By Barb Tolbert In Arlington, we have a big challenge to plan… Continue reading

Supporting RFA will bring you peace of mind

Who are you going to call if you have a fire or… Continue reading

Marysville likes to help its residents with spring cleaning

By Jon Nehring Now that winter weather is finally behind us, and… Continue reading

Hits and misses

HITS Marysville’s Father-Daughter and Mother-Son dances. The Fields of Dreams in Lakewood.… Continue reading

The real estate sky is not falling

By Todd Fahlman I’m tired of the real estate “Chicken Littles” you… Continue reading

More hatchery fish needed

By Lorraine Loomis The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to… Continue reading

Most Read