Medication Policies

PAIN MANAGEMENT POLICY:  Many people think pain management means taking opioid (narcotic) medications, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, or fentanyl for their pain.  However, opioids are only one of many options that physicians use to treat pain.

We are in the midst of an epidemic of drug overdose deaths, with opioids being the main driver of drug overdose deaths.  According to the CDC, there were 80,411 deaths associated with opioids in 2021, which represents 75% of all drug overdose deaths.  The effects of opioid addiction have been devastating to individuals, families and communities.  There have never been long-term studies showing opioids actually work well for chronic pain, but they can work for severe acute pain and can be helpful for short-term use after surgery.  Side effects are common, especially constipation, sedation, memory problems, dizziness, nausea and also decreased testosterone.  Addiction, overdose and death are all too common. Some people find that their pain actually gets worse on opioids, a condition called opioid induced hyperalgesia (for more information check out this article).

At La Plata Physical Medicine, we believe the majority of patients with chronic pain will NOT benefit from opioids.  We do not intend to take over management of chronic opioids and rarely will we prescribe long-term opioids.  That being said, short-term use (1-2 weeks) may be appropriate for some patients.

REFILL POLICY: Please plan ahead when calling for a prescription refill.  Up to 72 hours may be necessary for your doctor to review your chart and approve your medication.