What Steps Should You Take to Use Opioid Medications Responsibly?

Opioid medications are commonly prescribed to manage pain caused by injuries and surgeries. These painkillers can be very effective, but they are also known for their addictive properties. It's important to take opioid medications responsibly to reduce the risk of dependency and addiction. Even with proper use, the potential for addiction is always present. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to use your prescription painkillers responsibly. Responsible use is important for staying healthy and successfully relieving pain. In this post, you'll discover the steps to take for proper use. Read on to learn more about safely using opioid medication.

Ask Your Doctor Or Pharmacist Questions About Your Medication

It's crucial to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medication prescribed to you. Opioid medications have many side effects, and they can impair physical activity. Consider writing a list of questions ahead of time. There are no silly questions, so make sure to address any concerns you have. Here are a few common questions you may ask:
  • Should I expect any negative side effects? If so, what are they?
  • Is it better to take my medication with or without food?
  • Can I take over-the-counter medications for pain relief, too?
It's crucial to get answers from medical professionals versus reading online or asking friends and family members. Your physician or pharmacist will give you accurate information that will help you use your medication responsibility.

Take Your Prescription Medication As Directed

Taking your opioid medication exactly as directed is a crucial part of responsible use. In many cases, you will be instructed to take a dose of medication every four to six hours. Do not ever take your medication more frequently than prescribed. That's the easiest yet most important tip to keep in mind. Here are some more directions and tips to follow:
  • If you aren't in pain, you may skip a dose of painkillers.
  • Do not consume any alcohol while taking opioid medication.
  • Do not take any sedative medications unless okayed by a doctor.
  • Take your medication with meals or as otherwise directed.
Make sure you read the pamphlet that comes with your medication. If you cannot find it, call your doctor or pharmacist for a replacement. You should also let your doctor or pharmacist know if you take any other prescription or over-the-counter medications. This will help you avoid the risk of potentially dangerous drug interactions.

Use Non-Opioid Pain Management Whenever Possible

Opioids are not the only option you have for pain management. You can limit your opioid use by trying out different pain management methods. Here are some examples to consider:
  • heating pads and ice packs for hot/cold therapy
  • over-the-counter NSAIDs
  • massage therapy
  • meditation and relaxation techniques
The exact methods you use depend on your specific situation. These options are generally considered safe, but it's best to use caution. Make sure to consult with your physician to ensure you choose safe non-opioid alternatives.

Dispose Of Your Leftover Opioid Medication Responsibly

When your pain is better, you may have leftover opioid medication. Getting rid of your medication in a safe and responsible manner is important. Here are some options that may be available to you:
  • local law enforcement may offer a medication take-back service; they will dispose of your painkillers for you
  • permanent collection sites for taking back medication may be available at pharmacies and hospitals near you
  • remove and destroy the medication label that contains your personal information
  • crush and mix the unused medication with dirt, coffee grounds, or other substances
  • put the crushed medication mixture in a sealed plastic bag and throw it away
Following the steps above can help reduce the risk of opioid dependency. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to completely avoid drug abuse or drug addiction. The good news is that there is help available. You can receive honest, supportive assistance without any judgment. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 123-456-7890 to get the information you're looking for.