Doctors rethink pain prescriptions - - Jackson, MS

Doctors rethink pain prescriptions

PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Pain, prescriptions and pills. Once the cycle starts, it can be tough to slow down. Hundreds of doctors are learning how they can stop it before it ever starts.

Popping pills for pain can lead you down a dangerous path.

"These medicines are excellent but they're highly addictive and we have begun prescribing them inappropriately," explained the Mississippi Professionals Health Program's Medical Director Dr. Scott Hambleton.

More than 500 doctors are trying to re-train their brains when it comes to pain treatment.

"A non fatal condition could be turned into a fatal condition, addiction," said Hambleton.

Doctors say it will take a culture change. The public has long thought the answer to pain was a pill.

"The pain is very real for the vast majority of our patients," general internal medicine physician Dr. Dan Edney. This is not an issue of patients lying to us to get drugs. This is an issue of patients suffering and being in pain."

There's now a whole class of medicines that doctors say they didn't have as options in the past. They don't have the same addiction potential as others.

"It's very tempting at times to prescribe things to take away the suffering but like we're learning in the conference, you have to be careful about the risks and benefits long term," said Jackson VA Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Ladner.

They say patients will need to hear those warnings, just as they would before a surgery.

"In the short term it may help you. but in the long term, you're going to want more and more of this medication," said neurologist Dr. Lee Voulters. "It's not going to help you. You'll become addicted to it. And in fact that will become your problem."

Studies have shown the medicines can start to turn on patients if they use too much.

"Their pain and suffering gets worse with more use of the pain medicine," added Dr. Edney. "Try to explain that to a patient." added Dr. Edney.

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