Many patients who end up in Suboxone treatment have chronic pain. They were originally prescribed other opiates and ended up addicted to them. Skeptics argue that is just substituting one opiate for another. But that isn’t quite accurate. More on that in a bit. In my seven years of prescribing Suboxone for opiate addiction, I have often observed how potent a pain reliever this medication is, even in fairly low doses. More ...

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Patients legally using medical marijuana (cannabis) at home may be stunned if they are admitted to a hospital because many hospitals may prohibit them from using it. In the United States, medical marijuana is legal in 31 states, and research shows that medical marijuana can effectively treat pain — but patients beware. The issue of medical marijuana is a complicated one, and patients may be precluded from ...

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College students work hard, and many are looking for ways to improve their studying and learn more effectively. Getting more sleep and more exercise would probably help, but up to a third are trying ADHD medications to see if pills can give them that extra boost. A small, recent study shows that they’re not getting the effect they’re looking for. We’re not talking, here, about teens who have ADHD. There’s ...

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We’ve all heard about the importance of greater stakeholder collaboration in health care. It’s the premise of current movements aimed at improving the outlook on some of the most costly, chronic conditions. Like most physicians today, I maintain a tight work schedule to keep bottom-line margins in the black. On a daily basis, I see between 25 and 30 patients while also serving as the medical director of employee health for ...

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It’s a common scenario: a patient shows up to my office lugging a bagful of over-the-counter supplements, defiantly informing me that they “don’t believe in prescription drugs.” In the very next breath, they present a lab slip with a list of bloodwork that their alternative medicine doctor wants me to order to help diagnose their myriad symptoms. I’ll admit, my initial natural reaction in this situation was a feeling of annoyance ...

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Mary first took oxycodone after a minor surgery and found she liked it. Returning to her surgeon a month later with vague ongoing pain, she received another prescription. Her primary care provider took over from there — until one day that physician checked a urine drug screen and a prescription monitoring program (PMP) report, only to find that she was obtaining various opioids from several providers. The physician cut her ...

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A few weeks ago, I saw a young patient who was suffering from an ear infection. It was his fourth visit in eight weeks, as the infection had proven resistant to an escalating series of antibiotics prescribed so far. It was time to bring out a heavier hitter. I prescribed ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic rarely used in pediatrics, yet effective for some drug-resistant pediatric infections. The patient was on the state Medicaid ...

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Recently, a generally healthy friend of mine had two small, unrelated surgeries over the course of a few months. For the first, a small operation on his hand, he received a prescription for 30 oxycodone pills. He used one the night after surgery, to make sure pain wouldn’t wake him. Over the next few days he used a few over the counter acetaminophen tablets for his modest discomfort, and then ...

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Who was Ryan Haight? Ryan Haight was an 18-year-old honor student from La Mesa, California who died on February 12, 2001, from an overdose of hydrocodone ordered from an online doctor he never saw — and shipped to his home from a rogue online pharmacy during the beginning of the opioid epidemic. The pharmacist, Clayton Fuchs, filled ...

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Imagine yourself as a patient burdened with a chronic disease that necessitated daily medication adherence to function. Now imagine that medication has become so stigmatized by society that you feel judged and ashamed every time that you use it. That’s the world that individuals with opioid use disorder are forced to live in when they’re prescribed methadone or buprenorphine to get through the day. Without these medications,
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