Why the Doctor Refuses to Refill Your Opioid Prescription
Has your doctor decided to stop prescribing your opioid prescription? This may not make much sense to you at first but there is a very real reason for it. Prescription opioids can help manage severe pain but the associated risk only grows as the usage of these drugs increases.
Most heroin users got their start by misusing their opioid prescriptions. Misusing your prescription is illegal and can result in jail time, and even worse, the misuse of these drugs can have fatal consequences. The trend of misuse has also led to the production of illicit replicas that are exponentially more harmful.
Opioid abuse is no laughing matter, in short, and doctors have had to adjust to this growing concern. If you are struggling to cope with the stoppage of your opioid prescription, it is important to educate yourself on these risks and seek help if needed. By understanding the dangers, you can make choices that enrich your life going forward. Let’s explore why the doctor may have stopped and where to go from here. For even more support, give us a call today at 614-502-6247.
Pain management is a huge part of recovering from accidents, injuries, or otherwise. So, where do opioids come in? Opioids help manage severe pain and thus help with physical recovery. Opioids can also be used to relieve coughs or diarrhea. The definition of opioids is a class of drugs including heroin, synthetic substances like fentanyl, and legal pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others. Opioids work by attaching to receptors in the central nervous system, which prevents the brain from receiving pain messages.
Due to the abuse of these substances (both illegal and prescription), the nation is facing an opioid crisis. The earlier abuse begins, the worse the outcome. Drugabuse.gov lists the following statistics on the current opioid crisis:
- 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
- Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
- An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
- About 80 percent of people who use heroin first end up misusing prescription opioids.
- Update: Among 38 states with prescription opioid overdose death data, 17 states saw a decline between 2017-2018; none experienced a significant increase.
Thankfully, the crisis appears to be stagnating in recent years, but doctors have ample reason to monitor opioid use closely. Prescription opioids are still a drug and should be treated as such. Opioid misuse is even more dangerous when paired with other substances like alcohol, depressants, or antihistamines. Using them in a controlled manner is essential and prevents dependence.
The Real Reason You Have Been Cut Off
Pain is not something we deal with well. Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, the common element is that we want it to go away. Who wouldn’t want to get rid of a negative feeling? Ending up in a hospital for whatever reason can be traumatic enough.
Fortunately, this is something doctors already understand. They assess the need for pain relief and use the lowest effective dosage. If dosages are not monitored, and prescriptions are misused, the repercussions can be shocking:
- The risk of addiction, overdose, and death increases when patients are prescribed higher doses of prescription opioids
- In a recent study, nearly 60% of patients using prescription opioids were also taking other prescription drugs that put them at a higher risk of overdose: more than 29% were prescribed benzodiazepines, 28% were prescribed muscle relaxants, and 8% were prescribed all three medications concurrently
- Misuse of prescription opioids is a risk factor for heroin use—80% of users report prior misuse of prescription opioids.
Another unfortunate fact is that this crisis is affecting young adults. In 2017, a survey found that 1 in 7 teens have taken a prescription drug without an actual prescription. Teens may think popping pills is a fun and harmless pastime but ignore the long-term effects those choices will have. A lot of this is informed by harmful themes in music, tv, and other media.
The risk puts doctors in a delicate position. Of course, they want to alleviate pain, but that can come at a high cost if they don’t follow strict guidelines. It never hurts to have an open dialogue with your doctor about this decision. Ultimately, doctors know best how to stop an addictive cycle in its tracks. Call our specialists today, and stop the cycle now.
Guidelines for Prescribing
So, what exactly have doctors done to help curb the risk associated with prescription opioids? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), created a list of patient-centered guidelines to address these risks. According to CDC.gov, these include conducting thorough assessments, considering all potential treatments, closely monitoring risks, and safely discontinuing opioids. The specific focus areas in the CDC guideline include these key points:
Determining When to Prescribe or Continue Opioids for Chronic Pain
- Selection of non-pharmaceutical therapy, non-opioid pharmaceutical therapy, opioid therapy
- Establishment of treatment goals
- Discussion of risks and benefits of therapy with patients
Opioid Selection, Dosage, Duration, Follow-up, and Discontinuation
- Selection of immediate-release or extended-release and long-acting opioids
- Dosage considerations
- Duration of treatment
- Considerations for follow-up and discontinuation of opioid therapy
- Assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use
Evaluation of Risk Factors for Opioid-Related Harms and Ways to Mitigate Patient Risk
- Review of prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) data
- Use of urine drug testing
- Considerations for co-prescribing benzodiazepines
- Arrangement of treatment for opioid use disorder
The calculations of daily dosages help medical professionals identify patients who may be at risk of overdose. According to the CDC, these patients may benefit from closer monitoring, a reduction of the opioids prescribed, a naloxone prescription, or other preventative measures. Looking at these guidelines should help you understand why your doctor will refuse to provide you with more than the original dosage. There are also extreme risks with trying to fill your prescription elsewhere or use a drug that was not prescribed to you in the first place. Too often, the guidelines created cause people to look for opioids elsewhere.
If you need further information about risks associated with risks of taking opioids, then call us today. We will be able to provide you with all of the information that you need to start a healthier life.
The Dangers of Opioid Prescriptions
Buying prescription drugs on the street or on the web is considered drug abuse by definition. Any drugs taken without doctor’s orders fall under the umbrella of drug abuse and are thus illegal. This is for a good reason: taking prescriptions that are not your own or finding them on the streets is far more dangerous than you might think.
Street versions of opioids are far more potent and dangerous than the standard prescribed form. The initial increase in opioid abuse led to the manufacturing of harmful knock-offs. These illegal opioid derivatives often include unknown ingredients and vary in potency. The lack of quality control can be deadly to the user.
Think about it: normal prescription opioids come with a list of side effects and warnings. Street drugs have no such list and are potentially far more dangerous. You cannot control what may have been added to these drugs. We even have examples of this in popular culture. You may have seen articles about celebrities overdosing due to synthetic opioids, or products laced with fentanyl.
In recent news, there were 32 people found either semiconscious or unconscious following the use of a street drug. Yet that is just one devastating example. There are countless horror stories surrounding both prescribed and illicit drug use. It is always best to err on the side of caution.
The danger is simply not worth whatever momentary pleasure you may get from illegal opioids. Think about the harm it may do to your body, your mind, and the people who love you. Street dealers see you as a source of income, whereas a doctor at least has your health as the primary focus.
The most dangerous risk of prescription opioid abuse is drug addiction. Whether it is a street drug or a prescription, the risk of addiction is why doctors will not renew a prescription. Ultimately, a professional knows best, and it is essential to be transparent with them when navigating this topic. They can spot the signs of addiction and help you before the habit worsens. Addiction is a disease, and real treatment starts when you acknowledge that there may be a problem. Fortunately, there are numerous resources available to help you navigate your relationship with opioids.
If you are still unable to cope with your opioid prescription’s loss, it is time to consider finding help. You have to acknowledge that these substances are highly addictive, and if you are still craving them after the pain has subsided, it might be time to go to rehab. There is nothing to be ashamed of on this journey. If you are reading this, you are already on the way to recovery.
If you or your loved one are concerned about a possible opioid addiction, we can help find the right treatment for you. Please do not hesitate to give us a call. It is never too late to ask for help or admit that there is a problem. Call us today if you are looking for treatment plans for opioid prescription addiction. We are standing by, ready to help.
By Meccah Muhammad