In our pursuit to provide the highest quality care at Fishers Direct Family Care, we will undoubtedly need to use controlled medications in the care of our patients. Controlled medications are drugs that have been deemed high-risk by the DEA for one of two reasons. They may be risky medications on their own, having potentially serious side effects, or the medications may have a high potential for abuse or dependence. Either way, strict guidelines dictate the use of these medications including the documentation for the necessity of the medication and the manner in which we send prescriptions to the pharmacy.
Let's take a look at some examples of controlled medications and how we use them in our office.
Narcotic pain medications
Narcotic pain medications, or opioids, are the most commonly prescribed controlled medication. These medications do work well for acute pain such as after an injury or a surgery. However, the nature of how these medications works in the brain does not lend itself well for chronic pain. Despite its wide use for chronic pain, multiple studies have shown that longterm narcotic use may actually increase the perception of pain and the side effects associated with the medication itself. In our office, we use opioid medications sparingly, mostly for acute pain. For our patients with chronic pain, we will look for a number of other modalities to help treat chronic issues. These may include physical therapy, joint injections, as well as other non-opioid medications.
Anti-anxiety medications, or benzodiazepines, are commonly used to help with anxiety and panic disorder. These medications do help people relax and feel more calm, however longterm use can lead to dependence of the medication. Studies have shown that there are other options that tend to be more successful in the treatment of chronic anxiety and panic disorders. These include the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class of medications as well as cognitive behavioral therapy. We prefer to use these modalities to treat patients in our office with anxiety and panic disorders.
Stimulant medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall, are used primarily in the treatment of attention deficit disorder. For patients with this condition, these medications can be extremely helpful in allowing them to function normally at work or at school. However, these medications aren't without risk. As they can increase heart rate and blood pressure, they can lead to severe cardiovascular complications if not monitored properly. Therefore, we require that patients using these medication have undergone proper diagnostic testing to make sure we are treating the correct condition.
Sleep aides, like Ambien and Lunesta, can be effectively used to help with specific sleep disorders. However, they are more commonly used to help with generalized insomnia. While they may seem harmless on the surface, these sleep aides can actually lead to severe complications longterm. They can affect our sleep architecture, leading to less efficient sleep. They may also cause side effects like sleep walking or hallucinations that may be harmful. In our office, we will do a holistic evaluation when it comes to sleep to try and identify underlying causes of a patient's sleep disruption. We will try to correct these prior to using sleep aides on a regular basis.
Hopefully, we've been able to shed some light on the proper use of controlled medications. Click here to get more info from the DEA.
Please let us know if you have any further questions about controlled medications or your care. You can call us, e-mail us, or fill out the form below, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. For new patients, we are happy to do a free meet and greet visit to discuss how our office can help you achieve your health goals.