Do you remember the last time you fell and scraped your knee, or had a toothache? It hurt a lot, right? But after some time, the pain went away.
But what if the pain didn’t go away and continued for many days, weeks, or even months? That is what we call chronic pain.
Chronic pain can be very tough to handle.
Doctors sometimes use strong medicines called opioids to help people with chronic pain. You might have heard about these medicines from adults or on the news.
They can be very useful, but they can also be dangerous if not used carefully.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) are two big groups that help look after the health of people who have served in the military.
They have given out some new rules, or guidelines, about using these pain medicines.
The rules were written by a doctor named Friedhelm Sandbrink and his team, and they were published in a big medical book called the Annals of Internal Medicine.
What Are the New Rules?
Dr. Sandbrink and his team have come up with twenty new rules about using these strong pain medicines. They say that these medicines should not be the first choice to manage chronic pain that is not caused by cancer.
They also say that these medicines should not be used for a long time. This is especially true for younger people and for people who have had problems with using too much of a drug in the past.
Using these pain medicines together with another type of medicine called benzodiazepines is a big no-no.
If a doctor does need to give someone these pain medicines, they should only use a very small amount. They should also only give the medicine for the shortest time needed.
What Happens After Someone Starts Using These Medicines?
After someone starts using these pain medicines, they should see their doctor again within 30 days or even sooner. If they need to keep using the medicines, they should see their doctor often.
There is another medicine called buprenorphine which might be a better choice for some people. This medicine is not as strong as the other pain medicines, so there is less chance of someone using too much of it.
What’s the Big Picture?
The big idea behind these new rules is that these pain medicines should be used very carefully. Even though they can help with pain, they can also be very dangerous.
The doctors who wrote the rules say, “The good things that these pain medicines do are small and are outweighed by the bad things they can do.”
This is why these new rules are so important. They help doctors make sure they are using these medicines in the safest way possible. They also help patients understand how to use these medicines correctly.
The Final Word
So, the next time you hear about these strong pain medicines, you will know a bit more about them. You will know that they can be helpful, but they can also be dangerous.
And you will know that there are new rules to help people use them safely. Remember, it’s always important to ask questions if you don’t understand something about medicine.
After all, it’s your body, and you have a right to know!
If you care about pain, please read studies about pain relievers that may increase your risk of hip fracture, and these vitamins could help reduce bone fracture risk.
For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people, and Jarlsberg cheese could help prevent bone-thinning disease.
The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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