It is common for our clinic to call your pharmacy, your employer, and your family should there be anything out of the ordinary in our evaluation. Criminal database background checks are performed, urine drug screening is mandatory and screening for abuse potential is essential in preventing addiction, reducing abuse, and eliminating diversion. Georgia has an active prescription drug monitoring program and patients are monitored for compliance frequently.
Once screening is completed, and if you are felt to be a candidate for ongoing treatment for opiates for chronic pain, we need to monitor for pain relief (analgesia), adverse effects of medication (side effects), activity levels (ongoing functional improvement in activities of daily living such as holding down a job, maintaining a household, and keeping family and interpersonal relationships), and aberrant behaviors (running out of medication early, obtaining pain medications from more than one doctor). Common side effects include nausea, sedation, and constipation. Nausea typically improves within 1-2 weeks. Sedation is typically minimal with appropriate dosing and disappears within one week if medication is taken as directed. Constipation never improves without dietary adjustment and an informational handout is always available.