Chronic pain, opiates, suicide ideation and deaths!
Date: 27th June 2021 | By: Dr Lourdes Gaspar
Here are two tragic stories relating to some of the complications of opiates/ opioid prescription and the difficulties faced by responsible medical and allied professionals.
The first deals with a US man prescribed oxycodone, now seeing it being withdrawn leading to thoughts of suicide. The second deals with the death of a UK woman, prescribed morphine and tramadol who it is believed inadvertently took an overdose. A verdict of “Death by Misadventure” was advanced by the Coroner and the Pathologist told the inquest that a post-mortem examination had given her cause of death as “combined drug toxicity
There is a move away from prescribing opiates/ opioids in non-cancer chronic pain. The question arises, what can be done to help patients dealing with the relentless pain and the associated mental stress, anxiety, depression it causes.
There are no easy answer to any of these issues. However, in my view, whilst it is not a “cure all”, there is growing evidence that an Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) approach to chronic pain issues can be very helpful.
In the UK, ACT for chronic pain was recently endorsed by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a first line approach to people diagnosed with Chronic Primary Pain as defined by World Health Organisation based on the International Classification of Diseases version 11, first published in 2019.
The difficulty in recommending ACT is that there are too few clinicians with the appropriate training and experience to deal with the huge numbers of chronic pain sufferers who would likely benefit.
At www.ACTforPAIN.com, we have a team of pain experts both pain physicians and pain psychologists who have created an online digitally supported self-management program which is both affordable and easily accessible.
The program explores the frustration of tablets that stop working or become less effective. Patients often feel they want or need higher doses with the incumbent risk of what can happen as sadly described in the article relating to the lady from Derbyshire, UK.
We recommend it to anyone with living in chronic pain who is looking for a different way to help manage their pain and the mental health battles they face every day.