Drug Addict - Medical Negligence Lawyers
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Medical Negligence - Mis-Prescribing in Drug Addicts
There is one drug addiction that is almost entirely iatrogenic, that is, caused by the medical profession over prescribing and failing to monitor the patient on narcotics. Too often, the medications are prescribed and refilled without seeing the patient again or on a routine basis. This leads to severe narcotics abuse and failure to take the medication as prescribed. If you have any concerns about your treatment, please use the helpline to speak to a drug addict medical negligence lawyer at no cost and with no further obligation.
These are patients who begin seeing their doctor for pain relief. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications are tried and fail to work, leading to the use of opioid medication. The pills get stronger over time and the patient is hopelessly addicted. They types of opioid medication a person can take include:
- Heroin, which is a street drug.
- Dilaudid, which is hydromorphone.
- Percocet, Oxycontin, Percodan.
- Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet, which are hydrocodone.
- Duragesic (fentanyl).
If the patient only uses the narcotic pain-reliever for pain relief, the likelihood of addiction is low. Opioids are very intoxicating when injected or taken in high doses orally. Opioids tend to be good for anxiety as well. This is partly why the narcotic abuse is considered one of the greatest types of drug abuse in the US.
The following terms are used to describe opioid abuse: drug addiction, drug dependence and drug abuse. Experts call this drug abuse:
- Opioid abuse is the taking of a medication deliberately beyond a doctors prescription. The idea isn't to relieve pain but to get high or affect anxiety.
- Dependence can occur such that the patient needs to take more medication to get the same effect as in the past.
- Drug addiction comes with drug dependence and psychological effects. Patients partake in compulsive drug seeking behavior and drug craving and ongoing use even though there are negative side effects, including legal difficulties.
When the doctor prescribes opioid medication, he must look for the following signs and symptoms of opioid abuse:
- Feeling no pain or having analgesia.
- Being sedated.
- Feeling euphoric or high.
- Having respirator depression with shallow breathing and slow breathing.
- Having Nausea and vomiting.
- Having small pupils.
- Itching skin or flushed skin.
- Slurred speech.
In the same way, the doctor needs to be aware of opioid drug withdrawal in the patient. These can be signs that the patient has drifted into physical dependence. Symptoms of opioid withdrawal include the following:
- Drug craving.
- Rapid breathing.
- Salivation and runny nose.
- Goose bumps.
- Muscle aches.
- Nasal stuffiness.
- Abdominal cramps.
- Dilated pupils.
- Loss of appetite.
Nearly all these symptoms are not medically harmful but the patient feels miserable and is strongly asking for the drugs. If the doctor gives up and prescribes the drug again, the cycle goes all over again and the patient continues the addiction cycle. Medications like methadone or buprenorphine can be used to detoxify the patient with medications that have some positive opioid effect and a partial negative opioid effect. Unfortunately, the psychological addition does not get better.
Addiction vs. Dependence
When controlling a patient's pain is the ultimate goal, this is an appropriate use of opioids. Doctors shouldn't withhold opioid pain medication in patients that are legitimately in pain and in need of medication. They may become dependent on the medication but they usually will not be addicted. Addiction is a complex emotional and physical condition that becomes difficult to treat. In the legitimate use of narcotics, there will be a need for higher doses over time. Withdrawal will be seen when the medication is stopped abruptly. If the patient becomes addicted to the drug, the use of the drug will become self-destructive and compulsive. The dose may become lowered over time so that, ultimately the patient can get off the drug.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here