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What Is Opiate Substitution Therapy?

For those living with chronic pain, medically prescribed opioids are a legal and effective way to manage symptoms. However, it is easy to become dependent on opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, methadone, fentanyl, and tramadol. This dependency has led to a nationwide opioid epidemic that is devastating communities, destroying families, and stealing lives. For many, opioids, also known as narcotics, provide welcome relief during recovery from an injury or medical procedure. But when it has become clear a reliance on narcotics is developing, it’s best to seek medical intervention right away. That’s where opiate substitution therapy – OST – can help.

A Viable Approach

There are many non-opioid treatments to address pain and opioid dependency. The objective of OST is to prescribe alternative treatments to those who may – or at risk of becoming – dependent on opioids. With OST, your doctor will work with you to formulate an individualized treatment plan the goal of which is to maximize benefit while reducing risk. Your treatment plan considers your health and medical history. Because prescribing other opiate medications may not be an option for some, other options are examined to ensure the patient is safe and the treatment is effective.

Safety First

A key outcome of OST is to reduce risk of overdose and death, that’s why safety is paramount when administering OST. Doctors, to include an addictionologist, will evaluate each patient to determine possible complications associated with opioids. They will look at the medical and behavioral history to determine whether the patient has previously attempted but been unsuccessful at lower-risk treatments. Other interventional pain management techniques will be advised, to include pain management injections; and medical treatments such as platelet-rich plasma therapy, surgery or weight loss may also be recommended to relieve pain.

A Note on Medical Marijuana

While anecdotal evidence suggests that medical marijuana may be helpful and states that are serviced by Lynx Healthcare have legalized it for medical use, we at Lynx Healthcare and our subsidiaries have taken the position that marijuana has no currently accepted medical use and therefore, do not condone its inclusion in medical therapies. There are, however, two FDA-approved medications – dronabinol and nabilone – both of which are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. We will consider more medications as they become approved.

Opioid Therapy in Washington and Oregon

We at Lynx Healthcare are dedicated to providing our patients with quality, affordable healthcare. With multiple offices across the Pacific Northwest and New Mexico, there is a location near you. Your health and well-being is our number one priority and our goal is to change your perspective on healthcare through interdisciplinary medical treatment. Call us at (509) 591-0070 or request an appoint online at a location near you.

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