Although patient responsibility has ALWAYS been a good idea, in today’s environment, it is absolutely crucial. It is no longer enough to simply glance at a pamphlet put out by the drug manufacturer.
Do not blindly accept any prescription without asking questions and doing your own research. Become willing to have frank discussions with your doctor about the medications he is recommending, especially in the case of opioid painkillers and/or benzodiazepine tranquilizers.
- What condition does this medication treat? Avoid off-label use.
- Does it have a potential for addiction? Tell your doctor if you have a personal or family history of substance abuse.
- How will it affect my other conditions? Make sure your doctor has your COMPLETE physical and mental health history. Include mental or emotional conditions such as depression, anxiety, etc.
- What interaction will it have with my other medications? Give your doctor a comprehensive list of every other medication you take. Include vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter medicines.
- Are there alternatives? This question is especially pertinent when painkillers are prescribed. New guidelines were released last year directing that opioids should no longer be given as a first option for pain relief.
- How long do I take this medication? Both opioids and benzodiazepines have a high potential for dependence and abuse when taken long-term. “Benzo” dependence can develop in as little as 2 weeks, and even taking them “as needed” promotes misuse. Opioids should only be prescribed as a last resort, and for the lowest dose and shortest duration possible.
- What about a follow-up appointment? You want a follow-up appointment as soon as possible, so you can talk about the medication’s effectiveness, any adverse effects, and the next non-pharmaceutical steps you can take.
- Research, research, research – Today’s smart technology means you can find out everything you need to know about your prescription medications. If you have a question, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Learn to say NO – If anything your doctor says or prescribes doesn’t make sense to you, or makes you feel uneasy, get a 2nd
Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego specializes in the treatment of prescription drug dependency and addiction. If you or someone you care about is misusing pain medication, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or ADHD stimulants, Lasting Recovery can help.