Opiate Policy

Our Opiate Therapy Statement

Our Opiate Therapy Statement

Our goal at Hudson Medical is to improve function by reducing pain. We do this with comprehensive treatment plans that calculate risks while trying to maximize benefits. While pain medications do have a role in treating pain, we are careful and judicious when it comes to prescribing opiate medications. More and more evidence points to the fact that short-acting opiates such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone (Percocets, Vicodin) are ineffective for the long term treatment of pain. We try to limit short-acting opiates to three months of treatment or less. There are certain instances where these medications may be appropriate (cancer pain). In general, we prefer to use long-acting opiates and adjuvant medications to treat chronic (greater than 6 months) pain, in addition to other modalities such as interventional therapies and physical rehabilitation.

Opiates have a constellation of side effects and significant negative societal impact when used inappropriately, in cases of diversion, addiction, and abuse. We try and minimize these risks by appropriately prescribing and monitoring usage.

Furthermore, opiates when combined with other medications can be very dangerous by decreasing your drive to breathe. It can also increase sedation to the point of unconsciousness. Specifically, sedatives such as Xanax or Valium and even alcohol have been associated with drug overdoses and death when taken together with opiates. Therefore, we do not prescribe and recommend that you do not take any sedative when taking opiates.

Urine Drug Testing Protocol

New York State and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have issued guidelines for monitoring patients on opiate therapy. We follow these mandatory state and federal guidelines. All patients receiving controlled substances will be required to sign an opiate contract and will be subject to random urine drug testing and/or pill counts to monitor and to account for a patient’s adherence to taking their medication as prescribed. Urine screening results will be checked at each visit. Note that this is mandatory, and prescribing medication is at our sole discretion.

We do NOT resume prescriptions for opiate therapy started by other physicians, and patients are also not allowed to get other opiate medications from other physicians if they are being obtained here. Violations of any of these policies will result in a discharge from our practice.

Please understand that the conditions of the opiate contract are both for patient safety as well to protect our community.

Please see our Opiate Contract here.

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