Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Here is another in our series of TOP QUESTIONS that we get asked here at American RSDHope. Todays question relates to, "What is the difference between Addiction and Tolerance as it relates to taking Opiods for Chronic Pain?

On the website we address this question directly, the article is called, appropriately enough, "WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADDICTION, DEPENDENCE, AND TOLERANCE?" 

It is a two-part article compiled by Keith Orsini, one of the Directors of American RSDHope.

The opening of the article states,

"Some medications used to treat pain can be addictive. Addiction is different from physical dependence or tolerance, however. In cases of physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms occur when a substance suddenly is stopped. Tolerance occurs when the initial dose of a substance loses its effectiveness over time. Addiction and physical dependence often occur together."

People who take a class of drugs called opioids for a long period of time may develop tolerance and even physical dependence. This does not mean, however, that a person is addicted. In general, the chance of addiction is very small when narcotics are used under proper medical supervision."

The article goes on to say,

"Most people who take their pain medicine as directed by their doctor do not become addicted, even if they take the medicine for a long time.""

the article continues ...

"In certain parts of the country, the crackdown on illegal use of OxyContin has made it hard for pain patients to get legitimate prescriptions.

"OxyContin was the first prescription medication listed as a drug of concern by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, which made it a target," says Ronald T. Libby, PhD.

The drug, Libby says, is "monitored by pharmacies and [Perdue] Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. Some physicians, knowing the DEA or sheriff is looking at these scripts, refuse to write prescriptions for fear of prosecution. Doctors can be scammed, and if a patient takes some pills and sells some, the doctor can be guilty of diversion." Libby is the author of a Cato Institute policy report titled "Treating Doctors As Drug Dealers: The DEA's War on Prescription Painkillers" andprofessor of political science and public administration at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

"The war on drugs has become a war on legal drugs, on patients who take them, and on doctors who prescribe them," Serkes tells WebMD.

Later, the article discusses everything from the backlash of oxycontin abuse to truths and myths about Oxycontin.  Information for the article was pulled from a wide variety of articles and sources and it can be used to help inform and educate your medical professionals about the differences regarding Opiods uses and abuses. Far too often all we hear about are the horror stories and Drs, and the medical boards that govern them, are too quick to lump everyone in the same category, abusers. Leaving those of us in chronic pain to suffer needlessly.

There are excellent pain medications available that when used correctly can be of great use in controlling chronic pain and the majority of chronic pain patients do use them correctly. It is time that the medical community understood that and acted, not re-acted, accordingly.

peace, Keith 

PS - You can find more articles regarding Oxycontin, opiods, use, abuse, and other medication in the MEDICATION/MEDICAL ARTICLES SECTION of the AMERICAN RSDHOPE WEBSITE

No comments: