Question: What is an opioid and how is it used to treat pain resulting from osteoarthritis?
Answer: An opioid is the name that we utilize generically to refer to a family of medications that are derived from opium, initially. And they are very interesting, drugs they can be extremely useful, but they have to be utilized within the context of strict supervision by the physician. And the reason is because there are dangers associated with this.
We have to be careful when we use them. So if the indication is clear, if we use them safely, they can be extremely useful. The things we do, again, we start with low potency opioids and if the pain is not well controlled then we can move to opioids that have more potency. What we do to assure that this strategy works appropriately is we do frequent assessment of your pain and your needs. We help you to go from one track to another to increase the dose if it is necessitated, to make sure that you don't divert the medications, that you use them the way we want to you use them.
And we also help you to deal with potential side effects that might be a consequence of the use of this family of medications.
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