Dallas, TX (SCNG) – Many recovery plans have promise, but sometimes the cost can exceed any savings. Maybe you have an idea for a more specific treatment option, but if this type of therapy isn’t immediately available, you might be open to try it. Your choice will depend on your unique situation.
In our common practice of early detection and treatment of pain disorders, investigators at Texas Tech University and colleagues have developed a new self-administering procedure that allows general practitioners to easily administer an antidote to opioid-induced constipation medications, which can be found in prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers and injectable medications.
Michael Yamaciewicz, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Computational NeuroNeuroTherapeutics and one of the study’s senior authors, wrote in the journal Pain that such addiction can create immense stress on those in the long-term recovery from spinal cord injury. “Some people who have pain will end up descending into drug-induced constipation and diabetes,” he said.
A physiatrist traditionally administers the anti-drug at least one or more days a week to help patients tolerate anesthesia and decrease pain, but the drug can last for weeks or even months. Having to get sick from pain, along with continuous doses, can be a challenge.
“Most opioids only work when they have been shut down,” Yamaciewicz said. “We understand that the pain in the other four or five days on a schedule of steroids can go on long enough to cause the drugs to stop working.”
For patients with chronic chronic constipation, the Reach for Doctor program can help alleviate their frustration. The method involves entering the government web system of their prescribing physicians into a single queue so that all of their prescriptions at the time of refilling are entered into the same automated database as their prescriptions. The prompts to use the Reach for Doctor program are easily accessible from virtually anywhere.
The program “puts the patient in the front seat and provides much-needed tools” while the medication is being dispensed, Yamaciewicz said. The program is able to dispense the opioid if a patient’s dosage is determined to be “least severe” based on guidelines set by a patient’s prescribing physicians. Patients using the Reach for Doctor program can receive 30 days of treatment a month.
The Reach for Doctor program may have a complicated launch, however. The procedure only works if done quickly. Start with between four and 15 tablets at a time. A $75,000 cost will offset the price of one tablet. A patient’s regimen should be one pill at a time.
“To simplify this step, I left all the other prescription information out of the Reach for Doctor program,” said Michael T. DuMour, M.D., Ph.D., pharmacology and psychiatry professor at Texas Tech.
Moreover, DuMour called for a close look at the accuracy of overdose databases and patients’ overdose history to ensure that drug plans that give benefits to patients who are first diagnosed with an opioid dependence should never be caught again. Patients with “severely imbalanced opioid cravings” would be required to wait 30 days before taking a Reach for Doctor prescription.
DuMour and others have proposed a variety of protocols for the improvement of pain management through the elimination of side effects. While these efforts may not make miracles, they will help manage chronic pain and decrease its incidence, according to Yamaciewicz.