When a person is suffering from severe chronic pain, they would typically take a painkiller to get relief from pain. The most preferred mode to find relief from is through painkillers. However, taking constant painkillers continuously cannot provide the required relief as the body becomes tolerant to the drugs through prolonged use and becomes more prone to the medications side- effects such as gastric irritation in the stomach and weakened immune system.
Availability of Drugs
A person suffering from critical illness (e.g. cancer) cannot find adequate relief from pain through regular painkillers. Generally pain is treated through pain relievers (analgesics) which do not prove effective for serious critical illnesses because of the severity of pain.
For example, consider a person who is experiencing sharp pains in their shoulder blade every time they breathe. Despite taking heavy painkillers there is no relief. The pain in the area may be because of inflammation. After going to the clinic and requesting for low dose of the heavy drugs, the patient is refused these drugs by the Doctor. The patient is instead given more painkillers which do not help reduce the pain. So why did this happen?
Unfortunately these drugs are not easily available in the market and prove to be a great challenge for those who are not hospitalized. A person who is getting treatment at home cannot get access to the drugs he would need to find relief from pain.
When a person experiences breakthrough pain, the need for relief from the pain is immediate.
Such persistent pain is not limited to just chronic pain but acute pain as well, especially in cases of trauma and surgery. The pain may last anywhere between months to years. It is a natural reaction for the body to develop dependence, tolerance and addiction towards such Opioids.
The law allows qualified Medical professionals to prescribe controlled drugs. The drugs that are used to manage severe pain are hard to get because they are classified as narcotics. Narcotics can cause heavy addiction in users because of which Government Authorities regulate the distribution of them very carefully. A Doctor’s prescription is needed to get access to such heavy drugs and even then their availability is not guaranteed.
Even getting refills for the drugs proves to be a challenge because they need to be taken in doses which are supposed to prevent overdose. A miscalculation of the dose can lead to an early request for a refill which may not be easily available in the market or prescribed by the Doctor.
Challenges like the lack of accessibility and availability of the required drugs make it very difficult for a person who is in dire need of relief from pain.