TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC PAIN
While nonopioid treatments for chronic pain are important and essential parts of a treatment plan, often the opioid is the most controversial element of this plan. Providers and patients must together weigh the individual risks and benefits of opioid therapy while keeping in mind the well-publicized societal risks of opioid diversion and misuse.
Opioid medications are also known more commonly as "narcotics." Examples of these medications include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, methadone, fentanyl, tramadol, among several others.
Lynx Healthcare is here to help improve your quality of life by reducing your pain and improving your ability to function. After careful examination of available treatments, we determine which of our comprehensive options would be the most safe and effective to offer each patient.
We formulate care plans with the goal of maximizing benefit while reducing risks, assuring patients that their care is individualized. There are significant risks associated with opioid therapy and we make your health and safety our top priority. We carefully consider federal guidelines and recommendations regarding the prescription and administration of these medications.
We perform a comprehensive and individualized evaluation for each patient to ascertain the most appropriate treatment plan. For certain individuals it may not be appropriate to prescribe opioid medications. Prior to deciding to initiate opioid therapy, we evaluate whether patients have tried and failed lower-risk treatments. We look at their specific pain history jointly with their medical history to anticipate possible complications associated with opioids.
Finally, various medical tools and tests help us ensure that patients will use (or are currently using) these medications safely, reducing the risk of accidental overdose and death. Our opioid therapy management program includes:
- Appropriate evaluation of patients for pain management with opioid and nonopioid treatments
- Effective pain management treatments targeting improvement of function and quality of life for patients
- Safe opioid prescribing practices with a "universal precaution" approach modified by individual patient risk
- Prevention of prescription medication-related criminal activity and drug abuse
The DEA, which governs the license of medical providers to prescribe medications, has classified marijuana as a schedule I substance, stating that there is no currently accepted medical use and it holds a high potential for abuse. It is therefore classified in the same group as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
Although a number of states including Washington, Oregon, and Colorado have legalized its use, the federal agencies have made their position clear: there is no currently accepted "medical use." This position has been reinforced by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), DOJ (Department of Justice), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and the White House, and has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
Numerous medical institutions have also made clear that smoking marijuana has no documented medical value. These organizations include the AMA (American Medical Association), American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), American Cancer Society (ACS), American Glaucoma Society (AGS), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
We at Lynx Healthcare and all our subsidiaries take the position, in accordance with federal law, that marijuana has no currently accepted medical use and therefore do not condone its use as a medical therapy. While there is much anecdotal evidence that marijuana may be helpful, reviews of the current literature do not support its use, especially given the potential dangers associated with its use.
Although some patients state that they have medical conditions that have been treated by marijuana, we strive to use FDA-approved medications or legal supplements in order to treat medical conditions. Currently, there are two marijuana-related FDA-approved medications that can be used, including dronabinol (Marinol®) and nabilone (Cesamet®) which are both FDA approved for the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Another drug, nabiximols (Sativex®), is in the late stages of clinical trials in the US and has been approved in 25 countries including Canada. It has been used to treat spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis as well as cancer pain.