Why daily opioids may not be the best option for chronic pain
We now know that when used for a long time, opioids can have many bad effects on the body.
- Feeling more pain over time
- More disability, which makes carrying out everyday activities harder than before
- Worsening depression and decreasing motivation to do normally enjoyable activities
- Low testosterone
- Chance of falls
- Breakdown of the bone (osteoporosis)
- Weakened immune system
- Pauses in breathing or very shallow breathing (sleep apnea)
- Respiratory failure as lung function deteriorates
- Physical and psychological dependence on the drug
- Higher chance of death
As the medical community learns more about the dangers of opioids, chronic pain treatment is changing in the United States and other parts of the world. We are moving toward safer, more comprehensive and longer-lasting treatments.
In the words of one of our patients, "I no longer need to take opiate pain medication. My life doesn't feel as desperate. I've learned healthy ways to manage my daily pain. I no longer have to visit the doctor 12 - 16 times a year. I am liking myself and who I am daily."
Learn more about the opioid epidemic.