Advertisements

Travis Rieder’s ‘Pain’ Tells Of Bioethicist’s Lonely Struggle To Quit Opioids Alone : Shots – Health News – NPR

Travis Rieder, author of In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids, says none of the doctors who prescribed opioids for his waves of “fiery” or “electrical” pain taught him how to safely taper his use of the drugs when he wanted to quit. Stockbyte/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Stockbyte/Getty Images Travis Rieder, author…

Advertisements
Travis Rieder’s ‘Pain’ Tells Of Bioethicist’s Lonely Struggle To Quit Opioids Alone : Shots – Health News – NPR

Travis Rieder, author of In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids, says none of the doctors who prescribed opioids for his waves of “fiery” or “electrical” pain taught him how to safely taper his use of the drugs when he wanted to quit.

Stockbyte/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Stockbyte/Getty Images

Travis Rieder, author of In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids, says none of the doctors who prescribed opioids for his waves of “fiery” or “electrical” pain taught him how to safely taper his use of the drugs when he wanted to quit.

Stockbyte/Getty Images

In 2015, Travis Rieder, a medical bioethicist with Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Institute of Bioethics, was involved in a motorcycle accident that crushed his left foot. In the months that followed, he underwent six different surgeries as doctors struggled first to save his foot and then to reconstruct it.

Rieder says that each surgery brought a new wave of pain, sometimes “searing and electrical,” other times “fiery and shocking.” Doctors tried to mitigate the pain by prescribing large doses of opioids, including morphine, fentanyl, Dilaudid, oxycodone and OxyContin. But when it came time to taper off the drugs, Rieder found it nearly impossible to get good advice from any of the clinicians who had treated him.

In Midst Of Opioid Crisis, FDA May Block New Addiction Drug From Market

“We called everybody, and a bunch of them wouldn’t even talk to me,” he says. “And this includes the pain management team. They would not speak with me, and the message they sent through a nurse was, ‘We prescribe opioids but we don’t help with tapering.’ “

Rieder likens his experiences trying to get off prescription pain meds to a game of hot potato. “The patient is the potato,” he says. “Everybody had a reason to send me to somebody else.”

Eventually Rieder was able to wean himself off the drugs, but not before receiving bad advice and going through intense periods of withdrawal. He shares his insights as both a patient and a bioethicist in a new book, In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids.


In Pain

Interview highlights

On what happened when he tried tapering opioids after an ill-advised consultation with a plastic surgeon, who recommended abruptly reducing his dosage

He didn’t know what he was talking about; that wasn’t his area of expertise. He just tried to think of something that was reasonable — and he would eventually admit this, so this isn’t too much editorializing — but we went home and the next day we dropped the first dose and it immediately sent me into withdrawal. … It got worse over the first few days, and so we start to get really freaked out, because I feel like I’ve got the worst flu I’ve ever had multiplied by some order of magnitude. And I’m thinking, I have an entire month of this to get through. And so [my partner and I] get pretty freaked out.

On why it was so hard to find a doctor to help him taper opioids

I asked myself that question every day, every hour for a very long time. And once I transitioned from being an opioid patient to being an opioid researcher the answer I came to was something like “a lot of doctors don’t know, so this is just a knowledge gap.” So this is probably the best description of my plastic surgeon. He just had no idea how to do this. And that’s understandable, because clinicians — doctors — don’t get a lot of pain education in medical school. It’s

Read The Complete #NewsArticle Here at the Original Publishers Website

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: