If a doctor writes an opioid prescription, patients should ask why

While there is heightened awareness on the dangers of opioids, it’s still common for doctors to prescribe the drugs even when they are not necessary, according to reports.

A September 19, 2019 article in Elemental discussed what patients should know about opioids and how they can talk with their doctors about their concerns. Michael Barnett, assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that it is very reasonable for patients to ask why they need an opioid, especially if that patient has not yet tried acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

“There is no evidence that opioids are uniquely effective beyond standard pain medications like ibuprofen,” Barnett said. “Most people have a hard time believing this, but opioids are not super powerful or more effective than [non-opioid painkillers] — they just come with more cognitive side effects, like euphoria.”

Read the Elemental article: What to Do If Your Doctor Prescribes You Opioids