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The Pros And Cons Of Taking Opiates For Pain Relief

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If you have surgery, or if you develop a painful injury, you will have a few different pain relief options. There are over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, herbal options like CBD, and opiates. Many doctors prescribe opiate pain relievers, like hydrocodone and codeine, for patients in pain. But should you take these opiate pain relievers? That depends. Take a look at these pros and cons when making your decision.

Pro: Opiates are quite effective in almost all patients.

Opiates are widely known to be the strongest pain relievers available. They work. You take a dose of codeine, for example, and your pain will subside substantially. Pain that is not completely corrected by less-powerful options like ibuprofen and naproxen will almost always respond to opiates. These medications can also address diverse types of pain, from joint pain to incision pain.

Con: Opiates can be addictive.

Surely you've heard of the opioid addiction crisis. People can and do become physically and mentally addicted to these drugs. You can minimize your risk of chemical dependency by only using the medication as prescribed and for the minimum time needed. However, there is still some risk to consider, particularly if you are someone who has struggled with any sort of addiction in the past.

Pro: Opiates are covered by most health insurance plans.

Health insurance plans almost always cover opiate pain relievers. This is not always true of other more experimental pain management therapies. For instance, most insurance plans do not cover acupuncture or massage therapy. If you use an over-the-counter pain reliever, like naproxen, you will probably have to pay for that out-of-pocket, too. Considering these scenarios, opiates can actually be one of the more affordable options for pain management.

Con: Opiates can make you tired and less alert.

You will not be able to operate machinery when taking opiate pain relievers. These medications impair your judgement and function, and they make it unsafe for you to drive or use any other heavy equipment. This could mean you are not able to work while taking these medications for pain, and it could mean you have to have someone else drive you to doctor's appointments and other engagements.

There are both pros and cons to taking opiates to manage your pain. Many people steer away from these drugs due to their addictive qualities, but they do have their place and can be used responsibly if you're careful.

For more information about pain relief options, talk to your doctor.