What comes to mind when you hear the words medication management?

You are most likely picturing an individual with a box of pills like “Jellybeans in a candy jar”. You may also be relating your thoughts to that same individual who requires help with organizing their medication to avoid harm or even death!

Medication management can mean different things but this blog is referring to medication exclusively prescribed for pain management. These types of medications are generally over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory prescriptions or even stronger prescriptions such as opioids and muscle relaxers. These medications may be the only source of pain relief for the patient but characteristically, lead to addictive habits that are risky and may ultimately, lead to death.

Unfortunately, this is true for many Americans suffering from chronic intractable pain now involved in an epidemic of overuse in pharmaceutical treatment by patients. This is a public health issue leading to high mortality rates (death rates). On the bright side there is some combat to this issue that can be helpful in reducing the risks of addiction, abuse or death.

Alternative Treatments/Techniques are out there to Combat the Public Health Issue!

Alternative treatments include a new generation of medications highly effective in treating chronic pain with a lower incidence of abuse and death. Transparently, these new medications are also included in the class of opioids. One featured medication include: Buprenorphine (Sublocade, Subutex, etc). Buprenorphine is an opioid with the unique ability to bind tightly to the opioid receptor with a “Plateau Effect”.

This means that the use of Buprenorphine is a safer way to treat severe chronic pain more effectively while minimizing harmful effects or overdosing, respiratory depression and even death. This is in contrast to other addictive opioids that have a weaker affinity to the opioid receptor which encourages the individual to take more than prescribed, promote euphoric effects, overdose and die. Another benefit of this featured medication is that it bypasses the liver, a major vital organ. Buprenorphine may also be dispensed as a once a month injectable medication (Sublocade) resulting in manageability with ease and taking the need away for the “Pill Box” disguised as the “Jellybean Jar”.

Another alternative medication is Naltrexone or the brand Vivitrol. Naltrexone is a drug often used to treat opioid dependence. For more information about addiction treatment, check out https://atlpainspecialist.com/addiction-treatment/. It may be counterintuitive; however, Naltrexone is also used in medication management for chronic intractable pain. Vivitrol is the brand name most commonly used in the public community. Research has shown that Naltrexone/Naloxone has some properties to treat pain and obesity through weight loss. Additionally, opioid dependence is known to contribute to pain. Naltrexone/Naloxone treats opioid dependence resulting in a lower perception of pain!

Why have medication management?

Most people think of medication management as a means of organizing several medications in pill bottles with very minimal instructional labels. Although this blogpost is not directly speaking to this fact, it is important to consider the descriptive illustration that this is the norm for many Americans which should not be the case. The reality is, many Americans are dealing with chronic intractable pain that are causing them to seek harmful and addictive prescriptions. We also know that opioid dependence may correlate with emotional and psychological distress.

Medication management is helpful because it provides alternative treatments for patients with chronic intractable pain. It opens doors to a better quality of life with the use of medications with lower side effects and mortality risks. Opioid medication management should only be undertaken with a Board Certified Pain Management Specialist.

Patients seeking medication management for chronic intractable pain, may require laboratory testing to assist in their treatment. Don’t worry! This testing is just a simple way in learning more about your body’s physiology and what works best for you. Further genetic testing can be performed in effort to see if your body may be sensitive or insensitive to certain medications most commonly prescribed for chronic pain.
There aren’t many practices that offer medication management, so as stated above, it is important to find a provider that is both certified and specializes in this field of medicine.

At Advanced Spine & Pain Interventions, we provide alternative medication management with state of the art laboratory testing capabilities. We also partner up with an additional lab that provides genetic testing to promote precise medicine based on your personal needs. To learn more about our alternative medication management services please go visit https://atlpainspecialist.com/treatments/ or give us a call today!

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About the Author

Dr. Woodley Mardy-Davis is fellow-ship trained and triple board certified through The American Board of Anesthesiology and The American Board of Addiction Medicine. Board Certifications include Interventional Spine/Pain Medicine, Anesthesiology and Addiction Medicine. Dr. Davis specializes in nonsurgical and minimally invasive surgical treatments of the spine, and musculoskeletal system.

Dr. Davis’ skills are honed in the fluoroscopically and ultrasound guided procedures to intervene in the disorders of the spine and musculoskeletal system. Dr. Davis advocates a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to acute, chronic spine and pain disorders through the use of innovative diagnostic tools, treatment interventions and successful rehabilitation.