Penny Wise and Pound Foolish
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine profiles one individual’s pathway to getting free of the opioids that he initially received to treat a back injury. Here are some important points:
- The most likely source of introductory opioids is the hospital emergency room. The initial exposure is then reaffirmed by the primary care physician with whom the patient follows up.
- Getting off opioids is generally a complex affair involving patient commitment, a good pain doctor and the availability of alternative treatments.
- Alternative treatments include physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), massage, acupuncture, relaxation therapy, and behavior modification. Perhaps the most important and least used of these is CBT.
Many insurance carriers, particularly workers’ comp carriers, resist the notion of paying for alternative therapies thinking they are expensive and never-ending.
These carriers believe the monthly cost of OxyContin, muscle relaxers, stool softeners, stomach medication, treatment for sexual dysfunction, etc., all of which will increase in cost and produce side effects requiring even more medication, is a better bet than a couple of hours of CBT at about $85 an hour.
Want to learn more? Don’t miss the KWCEA Conference, December 7 and 8, at the Louisville Marriott East. The agenda includes several presentations regarding opioids, including one entitled “Alternative Treatments for Opioid Addiction: Can Art and Science Collide?” by Emily Esposito, PhD, Associate Professor at Sullivan University College of Pharmacy.
Chronic users will NOT get better without a smart, multifaceted approach. We have that.
Call us. We can do better.
Posted in OMCA