In our Monday blog post, we discussed the often overlooked dangers of prescription and OTC painkillers in workman’s comp injury management. These issues result from misconceptions regarding their use.
Don’t fall victim to these opioid misconceptions…
● They’re great for chronic pain.
Little evidence exists on the safety of long-term opioid use for chronic pain. Worse, tolerance over time increases the need for higher doses and thus, serious side effects. OTC and non-drug measures (massage, yoga, chiropractic) fare better.
● They’re not addictive.
5-25% of those using prescription narcotics long-term get addicted. If opioids are necessary, reserve them for flare-ups and be mindful of addiction signs: cravings, moodiness, an explosive temper, and risky tendencies.
● Extended release drugs are safer.
Stronger, longer-acting forms are more likely to be stolen, misused, and abused, and should be used for round-the-clock relief, not convenience (fewer pills).
Acetaminophen also breeds false impressions…
OTC does not mean safer. At recommended doses, acetaminophen is safe for most, but there’s little margin for error: even slightly excessive doses can be toxic or fatal. Hidden in multitudinous remedies, taking an extra-strength version for pain, a cold and flu medicine, and a sleep aid will get you a 2,600mg over the 4,000mg linked to liver damage. Stay within safe limits - 3,250mg - and avoid acetaminophen if you have liver disease or drink heavily. If you must take it regularly, know the signs for liver damage: dark urine, pale stools, yellow eyes, and upper-right abdominal pain.
Don’t let prescription and OTC painkillers cause unnecessary pain to your business and the families of your employees during workman's comp injury management. Get the help you need with Minnesota Comp Advisor today.