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Pain Management Contracts

What Does a Pain Contract Include?

The contract often includes information about the risks and benefits of pain medications, including the risk of:
  • Dependence
  • Addiction
  • Overdose
  • Potential side effects.
The agreement may indicate the goal of pain treatment. For example, if you are currently experiencing pain of 8 on a 10-point pain scale (with 10 being the worst pain imaginable), you and your healthcare provider will work together to decide on a treatment goal, such as decreasing your pain to a 4 out of 10 on the same scale.
The agreement may also require that you go to only one healthcare provider and one pharmacy to obtain pain medication. This can help decrease the risk of overdose or misuse of pain medications, which can happen when several prescriptions are obtained from several different prescribers. The contract may also list some of the signs of potential overuse and misuse, such as:
  • Asking for early refills
  • Losing prescriptions
  • Increasing doses without contacting the prescriber.
If these signs occur, the individual may need to come in for an appointment to reassess their pain management. It is important to remember that pain medications are prescribed to control pain. If pain is not controlled, increased dosages, a change in the dosing schedule, or a different medication may be needed. This situation is not considered overuse or misuse.
Other terms of the pain contract may include limiting alcohol intake or having urine drug screens performed when requested by the healthcare provider. Measures such as these are designed to protect you from the potentially serious side effects of the opioid medication, particularly if mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
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