Safety Guidelines for Prescription Painkillers

Prescription pain medications provide tremendous relief for people suffering from acute pain from an injury or surgery, or chronic pain from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. However, when not used correctly, these pain medications can lead to addiction, overdoses that require emergency care , and even loss of life. If you are prescribed painkillers, work closely with your doctor to ensure you are taking them correctly. These guidelines will also help you take pain medications safely.

Take Medications Exactly As Prescribed

Although it is always important to follow the instructions when taking any medication, with painkillers , sticking to your doctor’s instructions is essential. Taking your pain medications as prescribed is the best way minimize the risk of addiction and overdose. It may be helpful to set an alarm on your phone to alert you when you are due for the next dose, so you don’t get off track and accidently take more than you should. Avoid crushing or breaking pills unless told to do so by your doctor, as this can alter the way your body absorbs the medication and lead to an overdose. If you are concerned that you may have taken too many painkillers, seek emergency care right away.

Avoid Combining Medications

Do not take any medication with your painkillers unless it has been cleared with your doctor. Sometimes, medications—including over-the-counter medications—can have ingredients you may not be aware of that can interact with your pain medications. If your pain medications aren’t effective, talk to your doctor before supplementing them with over-the-counter painkillers, which could lead to overdose.

Communicate with Your Doctor

Be proactive about communicating with your doctor about your pain medications. If you are finding that they are ineffective, ask your doctor about changing to a different kind. If you are feeling the urge to take more than prescribed or have withdrawal symptoms when you move to a lower dose, talk to your doctor about safely transitioning to a different medication.

From ER care to our pain management team and behavioral health services, Good Samaritan Hospital can help you overcome pain safely and deal with any complication associated with pain medications. Get more information about our hospital in San Jose by calling (888) 724-2362.

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