In the past few decades, the use of opioids in treating pain has more than tripled globally. This phenomenon can be attributed to the increase in cases of chronic pain, which is now a major public health challenge. There has been a rise in cases of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disorders, arthritis, and obesity, which are all associated with chronic pain. Opioids have been found to be effective in suppressing the pain. However, the main points of concern in the use of analgesics are the negative side effects associated with them. These drugs are addictive and may contribute to physical dependence in the end.
Research has shown that long-term use of opioids may eventually produce a consistent state of chronic pain as the body gets used to the drugs. This results in a vicious cycle where patients have to use other prescribed opioids to treat the pain caused by the use of the previous opioid. Physicians treating chronic pain in Santa Monica are looking for alternative ways of medication that are free of addiction and other negative side effects.
The effectiveness and use of opioids in treating medical conditions are measured based on numerous factors such as the underlying pain condition, demographics, and severity in the treatment progress. Other factors considered include the dose and duration of the therapy. It is recommended that effective use of the opioids be the last option, as, until this point, there is a lack of sufficient evidence of its long-term effects. When treating chronic pain in Santa Monica, the clinician will examine the effectiveness of a drug, and long-term effects before administering the drug.
Harms and the possibility of adverse effects
The major challenge that healthcare providers face is the ability to use opioids to treat moderate to severe chronic pain. As much as they are effective, patients experience different side effects. Some of the common side effects include constipation, mental clouding, respiratory depression, and nausea. Cases of death have been reported due to possible overdoses.
Dosing strategies and risk mitigation
Some of the risk mitigation strategies applied include opioid management plan, education, frequent monitoring intervals, as well as consultation with other health service providers in the mental and dental field. An expert internal medicine physician educates the patient in order to identify the most critical element that will help mitigate the risks. Such will help manage the risk of addiction.
Research has been advanced on the positive effects in the use of opioids in treating chronic pain. With better research, the controversies on the application of opioids in treating chronic non-cancer pain will be addressed. Legal and regulatory frameworks continue to guide the research and application of the opioids. The clinical community is however keen to ensure that abuse and addiction are effectively countered. As such, the therapy administered should be goal-oriented. Where the goals are not met, the therapy should be discontinued immediately. The use of non- opioid therapy should, therefore, be administered. The goals are set at one month or less so as to enhance the effectiveness of the drug-related problems.