Studies show that combining acetaminophen and ibuprofen is more effective for pain relief than opioids.
The search for a non-addictive opioid for pain relief has begun. Opioids have been effective for managing chronic pain, but opioids are highly addictive. More than two million people are addicted to opioids and more than 130 people die in the United States every day from opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. One of these powerful pain relievers is Dilaudid, an opioid similar to morphine. Dilaudid is commonly used to treat pain after surgery or for chronic, life-threatening diseases like cancer. VeryWell Health points out that, like all opioid medications, Dilaudid is highly addictive and should be treated with caution if used for longer than a few weeks.
The danger of Dilaudid addiction is real. But pain management after surgery, or to help manage end-of-life care, is also a real and urgent need in healthcare. What are other types of non-opioid pain management available to help avoid the risk of addiction?
Alternatives to Dilaudid
Lessening pain is the goal of doctors handling post-surgical, end-of-life or debilitating chronic diseases. However, doctors now understand they must balance the risks of opioid use with managing severe pain in patients that are in a great deal of discomfort.
Ironically, opioids create many complications that can negatively affect the overall recovery of patients. Prescribing opioids puts patients at long-term risk of developing a substance use disorder, so doctors are now actively searching for alternatives to these medications. Some examples of alternatives to Dilaudid and other opioids include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories that can reduce swelling and pain. This includes painkillers such as Motrin, Excedrin, Aleve or Advil
- Acetaminophen drugs, such as Tylenol and Panadol are very effective for managing moderate pain levels. While these medications do not have an impact on swelling, they can also be taken with anti-inflammatory medications to get the same effect.
- Non-opioid prescription medications like gabapentinoids, which are a form of anti-seizure drugs that act by calming down vigorously firing nerves. Tricyclic antidepressants are also good at treating nerve pain and can be used in place of opioids. These non-opioid prescription drugs can be combined with Tylenol or Motrin to improve the effect.
- Nerve blocks or localized numbing. For example, if you receive knee surgery, there are injections that can provide a numbing effect for a certain period.
- Non-drug treatment including massage, ice, stretching, acupuncture, physical therapy or relaxation techniques can help people living with chronic pain
Talk to your doctor about alternatives to opioids for pain relief.
Studies show that chronic opioid use by pre-surgical patients, such as in the case of managing chronic long-term back pain, make them slower to recover from orthopedic surgery.
Current studies show that acetaminophen and ibuprofen combined is a stronger pain reliever than opioids. So, while narcotic opioids were introduced as pain management tools twenty years ago, today there are many viable alternatives that can be used for pain management in those who wish to avoid exposure to opioids. Doctors and patients must work together to find alternatives to opioids and reduce the risks of addiction.
If you or any of your loved ones are struggling now with Dilaudid addiction, help is available. Contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield today to learn about treatment options.