Medical Essay on Pain Medication: Opiates

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Middlebury College
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The process of pain evaluation and its control is a critical challenge that all healthcare providers encounter (Chau, Walker, Pai,& Cho, 2008). Pain management for the elderly is a significant problem considering their pharmacology, psychology, and physiological aspects when caring for the geriatric clients. Opiates are the pain management drugs that are applied to all age groups. However, the side effects and their efficacy in handling the pain should be considered strictly. Opiates popularity in pain management among the healthcare providers have increased, and care should be taken when administering the same to the elderly. Controversies have faced the opiate drugs used in the management of pain based on their risk for abuse and effectiveness after long-term use (Rosenblum, Marsch, Joseph, & Portenoy, 2008). Derived opium poppy plant, the common types of opiates include codeine and morphine. In American various over the counter opioids are available and can be administered orally, intravenous, and through intradermal.

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Types and varieties of opiates

Over the counter, opiates can be found based on the different forms of administration. The following types are administered orally they include; codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone.


The over the counter drugs that are available and have opiate ingredients include the ibuprofen and Kadian among other. For instance, ibuprofen contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Kadian contains a single formulation of the morphine (Rosenblum et al., 2008). Different pain relieving drugs obtained over the counter use different ingredients of opiates.

The critical information that you need to know about this OTC drug to make safe and effective clinical decisions.

Over the counter, drugs can be accessed without a prescription from the physician, although some drugs require a prescription. Pain management drugs are among the drugs which can be obtained easily over the counter without any pressing requirement for a written prescription. However, opiates fall in the category of medications that can lead to addiction and dependence when used over a long time. The elderly are an important population that should be examined carefully before the administration of opiates to geriatric patients. The elderly have a complicated pharmacology, psychology, and physiological aspects which should be considered before administration of opioids. This step is a responsibility by both the pharmacist and the patients to manage the adverse effects as a result of the drug use.

The Beers Criteria.

The criteria provide the guidelines required by the healthcare professionals to be able to administer the appropriate type and quantity of prescription drugs, in this context the opiates. The criteria have three essential principles which include; the closer monitoring of the administered drug is recommended to ensure it serves the intended purpose (Campanelli, 2012). When the prescription is done online, it should happen in the real time to address the ongoing problem, to prevent the adverse effects on the elderly patients. The last one is a better outcome for the patient upon the use of the drug. This way the provider and the patient will ensure that the administered handles the problem, and in our case relive the pain.

The education for elders about the OTC drug

The elderly patients should understand that there are different types of pain and a comprehensive evaluation and examination, should be applied to determine the kind of a pain to also guide the intervention measures (Kaye, Baluch, & Scott, 2010). Studies have revealed a misreporting of pain among the elderly which affect the treatment. The older people believe pain is a part of aging process, which can be handled using any over the counter medication for pain. This makes it essential for a prior evaluation and examination before drug administration.


Chau, D. L., Walker, V., Pai, L., & Cho, L. M. (2008). Opiates and elderly: use and side effects. Clinical interventions in aging, 3(2), 273.

Campanelli, C. M. (2012). American Geriatrics Society updated beers criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults: the American Geriatrics Society 2012 Beers Criteria Update Expert Panel. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 60(4), 616.

Kaye, A. D., Baluch, A., & Scott, J. T. (2010). Pain management in the elderly population: a review. The Ochsner Journal, 10(3), 179-187.

Rosenblum, A., Marsch, L. A., Joseph, H., & Portenoy, R. K. (2008). Opioids and the treatment of chronic pain: controversies, current status, and future directions. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 16(5), 405.

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