A Note from Dr. Steven T. Curry
Important Patient Information About Narcotics, Opioids, Benzodiazepines & Substance Use Disorder
All medications have some risk associated with their usage. When prescribing medicine, we try to maximize the benefits and minimize any negative effects. Our goal is to provide appropriate pain control and comfort levels, while minimizing any addictive potential for you, our patient.
• Even when appropriately prescribed, Opioids (Hydrocodone, etc.) and Benzodiazepines (Valium, etc.) can be highly addictive and have the potential to cause physical and psychological addiction/Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in certain susceptible individuals.
That said, used correctly, Opioids and Benzodiazepines can be beneficial clinically, and are sometimes absolutely required, in order to achieve optimal treatment and pain management results. You need to know that they do, however, have the potential to interact with other drugs: such as regular prescription medicines, herbal supplements, recreational drugs and alcohol. This can result in serious unintended consequences, overdose, or death.
• That’s why it is very important to accurately report all medications, herbals, recreational drugs, and alcohol you are currently taking BEFORE any prescriptions are written for you.
Because a potential hazard exists for Opioids and Benzodiazepines to result in addiction and Substance Use Disorder (SUD), whenever possible we utilize other pain control methods instead. By administering long-acting local anesthetics and prescribing non-steroidal anti inflammatories (NSAIDs) (Ibuprofen, Motrin or Tylenol) for routine dental procedures, we can achieve high levels of comfort for our patients without the problems associated with Opioid/Narcotic use.
• Regarding Infections/Abscesses, Oral Surgery and Invasive Dental Procedures: for invasive treatments, surgical procedures or pre-op dental infections and oral abscesses, NSAIDs like Ibuprofin, Motrin or Tylenol often aren’t strong enough to control and relieve acute, upper level pain. In these circumstances, it is frequently necessary to supplement NSAIDs with a narcotic pain medication for a brief time. Our patients can be confident that if a narcotic pain med is required, we will prescribe the lowest effective dose for the shortest reasonable time period to assure their comfort and safety.
For musculoskeletal pain caused by TMJ, TMD, muscle spasms, or other jaw/facial pain problems, we encourage the use of alternative treatments to Opioids, Benzodiazepines and Narcotics. For these issues, we recommend using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) combined with the application of hot and cold packs to the affected areas; or physical therapy, massage therapy, acupressure/acupuncture and Biofeedback therapy. These approaches often greatly decrease or eliminate the need for opioid/narcotic or Benzodiazepine medicines.