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Protect Yourself From Opioid Overuse

Everyone seems to be talking about opioids lately. The news is alarming: More than 40 Americans die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids.

It’s an issue for people of all ages and backgrounds. Anyone who takes too much of an opioid is at risk. If your doctor prescribes an opioid pain medicine, here’s how to avoid a tragic mistake.

Ask About Alternatives

Prescription opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain. They may be taken after an injury or surgery, or for a health condition such as cancer. Examples include:

  • Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin)

  • Morphine

  • Oxycodone (such as OxyContin)

  • Opioids can cause side effects, such as constipation, nausea, sleepiness, and confusion. In addition, overuse of opioids could potentially lead to addiction or overdose.

If your doctor prescribes an opioid, talk about the risks and benefits. Ask if there are any alternatives for treating your pain. Options may include other medicines, physical therapy, or exercise. In some cases, these options work better than opioids with less risk.

Avoid Taking Too Much

If you do take an opioid, follow these safety tips:

  • Use your medicine exactly as directed. Never take it in larger amounts or more often than prescribed.

  • Tell your doctor about any other medicines you’re taking. Don’t forget over-the-counter and herbal products. It can be dangerous to mix opioids with certain drugs, particularly ones that cause drowsiness.

  • Have one doctor oversee your opioid treatment. When multiple doctors are writing your prescriptions, the risk of an overdose rises.

  • Fill all your prescriptions at one pharmacy, if possible. Your pharmacist can help watch for risky drug interactions.

More than 1,000 Americans end up in emergency rooms every day due to misuse of prescription opioids. Don’t become one of them. A few small steps can have a big impact on your safety.




© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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Our web site is designed to provide general information to educate users about programs and services, which may be available through our hospitals. The web site is not intended to provide medical advice nor should the information be used to attempt to determine the presence, absence or severity of any illness or medical condition which may be perceived or experienced by the user of this site. If you have or suspect you may have an illness or condition which you believe requires medical attention, we recommend you call your primary care physician. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency please call "911" (or your local medical emergency number) or seek immediate care from the nearest hospital Emergency Department. The provision of information to users of this web site is not intended as an inducement or to otherwise influence a person's decision to order or receive any item or service from a particular provider, practitioner or supplier that is reimbursable under Medicare, a state healthcare program (e.g., AHCCS) or any other healthcare plan.

Physicians are members of the medical staff at each facility, but are independent contractors who are neither employees nor agents of Carondelet Medical Group; and, as a result, Carondelet Medical Group is not responsible for the actions of any of these physicians in their medical practices.