Opioid therapy is not right for everyone. Your doctor will determine after taking a thorough physical and medical history if the use of opioid therapy is an appropriate addition to your treatment plan.

Opioid therapy should never be the only treatment option used to treat your pain. The use of adjuvant therapies and non-drug therapies are important parts of a successful treatment plan.

When it comes to opioid therapy, proper patient selection is critical. Your doctor will consider a trial of chronic opioid therapy only when potential benefits are likely to outweigh risks.

Before the trial, you may be asked to sign a treatment agreement with your physician that will outline the expectations, safe use and office policies with regards to your treatment plan with or without opioid therapy. It is important that you read and understand these contracts fully.

For patients who experience mild or moderate opioid-related adverse effects, a longer trial may be indicated because some adverse effects diminish with longer exposure. Some adverse effects can be managed with additional therapies (e.g., a bowel regimen for prevention or treatment of constipation).

Your physician will also ask you a series of questions to help determine the benefits and risks of opioids in your treatment plan. Studies have shown that the list of risk factors below are associated with a higher risk of opioid addiction and misuse.