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Painkiller abuse and addiction

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Ritalin

Ritalin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prescription drug abuse is the use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than as prescribed, or for the experience or feelings elicited. (www.drugabuse.gov) Many patients are hesitant to take opioid medications and many healthcare providers are hesitant to prescribe them, for fear of the patient becoming addicted. In order to reduce the risk of a patient becoming addicted to painkillers, doctors should screen patients for risk factors of addiction, including family history of drug abuse, abuse, neglect, past trauma or mental illness. Physicians should also monitor patients for signs of painkiller abuse and addiction.

Signs of painkiller abuse or addiction include:

Preventing prescription painkiller abuse

If your doctor has prescribed painkillers to treat your chronic pain, take steps to ensure you are using the medication appropriately. Always follow the directions for use on the label of the medication, be aware of potential interactions with other drugs you may be taking, and never stop taking or change the dosage of a prescription painkiller without the direction of your physician.

Before you begin taking any medications, inform your doctor of any prescription, over-the-counter medicines, or dietary and herbal supplements you are currently taking.

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