Opioid and opiate pain medications, such as morphine, dilaudid, oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, etc., have been used for many years to treat chronic pain. Science now shows us that these medications alone are usually not very helpful and carry many side effects. For this reason, opioids are being used less and less. Many patients find that once they stop using the opioids (under guidance of their physician), they feel more energetic and their pain is no worse (new research shows that it is often better!). Opioids do not repair the underlying source of pain and therefore only act as a bandage. They may be helpful for a short while, but in the long run, if the underlying issue is not addressed, they often only carry side effects.
Dr. Siefferman is trained to treat people who still have pain, even on high doses of opioids.
Patients on opioid therapy must agree to and sign the Opioid Agreement, as well as an Opioid Therapy Informed Consent. Breach of the agreement may result in immediate discontinuation of opioid therapy.
For those wishing to come off of opioid pain medications, there are many options for in-office detox which are comfortable and significantly limit any side effects of weaning the medication. Buprenorphine or Suboxone ® is also available for those who are unable to fully come off of opioids.
At Manhattan Pain Medicine, we specialize in treating your pain while helping you come off of opioid pain medications. New studies show that patients coming off opioids actually experience less pain, which is because opioids (when taken for many months or years) increase your body’s sensitivity to pain. We also offer numerous other pain treatments, both traditional and alternative, which minimize pain and side effects.
Weaning opioid pain medication is rarely easy, but we make it a smooth transition. In many inpatient programs, patients rapidly experience withdrawal, including diarrhea and chills – this is not our model. We work with you closely as an outpatient and design a program that will work for you. Medications which minimize withdrawal symptoms are used as needed, and your medication is slowly reduced over weeks, or changed to another medication (such as Suboxone ®) which can more easily be weaned. Patients who are unable to be fully weaned may be maintained on Suboxone ®, which carries fewer side effects than traditional pain medications such as oxycodone or morphine.
Adjuvant treatments to facilitate the weaning process may include oral medications, patches, or IV infusions such as ketamine.