American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) President Wanda Filer, M.D., M.B.A., , appeared on the Dr. Oz Show Monday to discuss the proper use and abuse of prescription pain medication.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that nearly 2 million Americans abuse prescription pain medications.
"Opioid prescribing, pain management and opioid abuse are issues the AAFP has been working on diligently for years," Filer said. "Use of opioid pain relievers in the United States quadrupled between 1999 and 2010."
One of the keys to stopping the problem is for patients to understand why they are taking pain medications.
"Too often, people take medication without understanding its risks and benefits and without asking if other options are available," Filer said. "Opioids are best used for the shortest time possible and at the lowest dose possible."
Before taking any pain medication, Filer advises patients to ask themselves a number of questions, including "Are there any risks to me from these pills?" "Is there any history of addiction to or misuse of opioids?" "Have I suffered from depression or other behavioral health disorders?" "Are other medications being taken that might cause adverse reactions in combination with the opioid?"
According to Dr. Filer, patients also need to be aware of safe disposal methods for unused medications as well as how to store medications safely and consider what resources are available should pain medication abuse become an issue.
AAFP president discusses prescription pain killer abuse on Dr. Oz
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