Why We Don't Prescribe Routine Narcotics
The prescribing of routine narcotics has several concerns and potential negative consequences. Here are a few reasons why we avoid routine narcotics:
Risk of Addiction
Narcotics, also known as opioids, have a high potential for addiction and dependence. Routine and prolonged use of these drugs can increase the risk of developing addiction, as the body can become physically dependent on them. Addiction can have severe consequences for an individual's health, relationships, and overall well-being. Many of our patients are teenagers who are narcotic naïve. We try our best to not introduce younger patients to the unnecessary use of narcotics.
Side Effects and Safety Concerns
Narcotics can cause a range of side effects, including drowsiness, constipation, nausea, and respiratory depression. Prolonged use or high doses can further increase the risk of adverse effects and overdose, potentially leading to life-threatening complications. Additionally, narcotics can impair cognitive function and motor skills, affecting an individual's ability to perform daily tasks and potentially posing a risk to themselves and others.
Tolerance and Reduced Effectiveness
With routine use, the body can develop a tolerance to narcotics, meaning higher doses are required to achieve the same level of pain relief. This can lead to a cycle of escalating doses and increased risks associated with higher opioid exposure. Furthermore, long-term use of opioids may actually result in hyperalgesia, a condition where the body becomes more sensitive to pain, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the medication in managing pain over time.
Alternative Treatment Options
There are often alternative treatment options available for managing pain that do not carry the same risks and potential for addiction as narcotics. These options may include non-medicated options and non-opioid medications. Exploring these alternatives can help minimize the reliance on opioids and reduce the potential negative consequences associated with their use.
Public Health Concerns
The overprescribing and widespread use of narcotics have contributed to an opioid crisis in many parts of the world, including the United States. The misuse, diversion, and illegal distribution of prescription opioids have led to a significant increase in opioid-related deaths, addiction rates, and societal burden. By minimizing routine prescriptions of narcotics, we try our best to in mitigating this public health crisis.
It is important to note that there are situations where opioids may be necessary for short-term acute pain management or in specific medical conditions. Dr. John gives a very specific regimen using non-narcotics for most patients and considers narcotics for very specific cases.