As the field of pain medicine advances there is a considerable focus on helping patients get better as well as undoing the damage done by the opioid abuse epidemic. Both problems will likely require a long term approach to be successful.
For some patients, especially on a short term basis opioids may still be the best treatment option. Safely prescribing these medications is the focus of a field looking to help patients without causing problems in other areas.
Researchers caution that Pregabalin, an agent approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain, may be associated with an increased risk of major birth defects after first trimester exposure, though results are inconclusive.
With doctors having busy schedules to begin with it can be difficult to help patients who may have an addiction or issue with opioids. Taking a few extra minutes can sometimes make all the difference in helping these vulnerable patients avoid a much worse scenario.
While looking to find ways to treat patients with pain beyond opioids a considerable amount of research has been done looking at alternative medications and treatments that can provide relief without the potential risks of addiction.
In the struggle against the growing opioid epidemic the CDC recently announced new guidelines aimed at helping guide doctors on when to prescribe this form of medication and what other steps can be done to help patients.