Healthy Tahoe: Are opioids effective as we believe?

Dr. Wes Irwin

The opioid epidemic has reached epic proportions—and continues to wreak havoc on millions of people’s lives.

Dr. Wes Irwin

In 2016, medical professionals wrote about 214 million opioid prescriptions for pain. That is 66.5 scripts per 100 people. More than 11 million of those patients ended up addicted to or abusing those drugs. And the worst part? A new study indicates that opioids are essentially useless for treating non-cancer related chronic pain.

HealthDay News wrote an article summarizing the surprising results of about 96 clinical trials on the use of potentially addictive opioids to treat chronic pain issues. In conclusion, opioids may work “only slightly better than placebos.” Shocking.

“Opioids should not be a first-line therapy for chronic, non-cancer pain,” said lead researcher Jason Busse, of the Institute for Pain Research and Care at McMaster University in Canada. The trajectory towards addiction generally looks something like this: patient’s tolerance to medication increases; prescription dosage is increased…and this cycle continues, usually until a patient is dependent. The long-term side effects of opiate use can be devastating to your nervous system and health.

There are several alternatives to opioids when it comes to treating chronic pain. Busse’s team notes that opioids were no more effective than traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. There are also non-pharmaceutical options to help alleviate chronic pain, including: cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, or acupuncture.

However, one of the most effective chronic pain treatments available today is ketamine. Ketamine infusions can help to reset neural connections in the brain and spine, and act as a potent anesthetic to decrease pain. Ketamine is not a physically addicting substance, and is not provided as a take-home prescription in most cases. Rather, it is administered by highly experienced physicians in a clinical environment. For some patients, ketamine relieves the symptoms of chronic pain for up to six months at a time.

Contact Tahoe Ketamine

Contact Tahoe Ketamine today for a free consultation and to learn what ketamine could do for your chronic pain problems. We want to get you back out there, enjoying your life fully —without the fear of living in pain. We are one of the leading clinics in California, and are happy to answer your questions, address your concerns and determine if you are a candidate for ketamine for chronic pain.

Dr. Wes Irwin is owner/operator of Tahoe Ketamine.

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