What Patients Should Know About Pain Management

When prescribing narcotic drugs for pain management, doctors should ensure that patients are fully informed of the medicine’s risks and benefits, as well as alternatives to drug treatment. Following is a list of questions that patients should ask, but often don’t.

Addressing these questions will help ensure that patients understand their treatment: 

  • What pain medicine is being ordered or given to you?
  • Can you explain the doses and times that the medicine needs to be taken?
  • How often should you take the medicine?
  • How long will you need to take the pain medicine?
  • Can you take the pain medicine with food?
  • Can you take the pain medicine with your other medicines?
  • Should you avoid drinking alcohol while taking the pain medicine?
  • What are the side effects of the pain medicine?
  • What should you do if the medicine makes you sick to your stomach?
  • What can you do if the pain medicine is not working?
  • What else can you do to help treat your pain?

This information was taken from The Joint Commission’s “Speak Up” campaign. You can purchase patient brochures on this topic by calling (877) 223-6866 or visiting http://www.jointcommission.org/topics/speakup_brochures.aspx.

The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider in light of all circumstances prevailing in the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.



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