Prescription Painkillers – What You Need to Know

Prescription painkillers are quickly becoming a problem for America. They can often be obtained much easier than illegal drugs, and there are many different age groups getting addicted and misusing them. Unfortunately, the increase in addiction rates coincides with an increase in overdose and death rates due to abuse of prescription pain medicines.

The Centers for Disease Control classifies this overdose as an epidemic. In 2008, about 15,000 people died from an overdose to prescription pain medications. The number of fatalities has more than tripled from the 4,000 deaths that occurred in 1999.

These numbers are so high because the medications are frequently prescribed. Painkillers are some of the most common prescriptions in the country. The problem is also due to access by illegal methods for those who are addicted. People are beginning to use painkillers when they are not medically necessary.

The prescription pain medications are generally safe and effective when they are prescribed properly, taken properly, and monitored carefully. They are not suited for relief from long-term pain, such as what may be experienced with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Pain experienced temporarily due to things such as injury and surgery is more successfully relieved.

Avoid leaving any unused pills around. If you have found that there are pills left after your pain is gone, they should be disposed of immediately. Take them to your pharmacy to be destroyed. The goal is to prevent you from being tempted to take them for other pain-related experiences, such as a bad headache or pulled muscle, when they are in a different dose than typically prescribed for your issue. Also, you want to ensure that other people do not have access to your unused pain medications.

If you are in one of the at-risk groups identified by the CDC, pay close attention to how you take the prescription. Middle-aged men are more likely to misuse painkillers than women or younger men. Also, residents of rural areas are more likely to be at risk than those who reside in large city areas.

Before you begin taking any prescription painkillers, it is recommended that you discuss the medication with your doctor thoroughly. Make sure you understand all the instructions, possible side effects, and potential interactions. Do not share the prescription with anyone and only take it as directed for the condition it has been prescribed.

Sources:
http://www.cdc.gov/Features/VitalSigns/PainkillerOverdoses/
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/01/5-surprising-things-you-need-to-know-about-prescription-painkillers/index.htm