Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should you not take pain killers if you had a substance abuse problem?"
Very worried about my husband. He's a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He has to have some teeth pulled and says he is going to get pain killers. Is this okay? Is there some other way he can deal with the pain? I'm scared for him.
The answer to your question depends on many factors. First, it depends on what type of pain killers his doctor plans on prescribing him. If they are narcotic pain killers, there is always the chance that they will stimulate one of the old addictions he used to have. This is why I am very careful what pain killers I prescribe when someone is going through a procedure that will cause pain. Getting teeth pooled can be a painful procedure. However, the pain afterward can be minimal and may be controlled with strong anti-inflammatory medications that carry no addiction risk afterward. His doctor may consider using these medicines for your husband to be sure that this doesn't happen. It will depend completely on his doctor's comfort level with him using narcotic pain killers, and the amount of pain he is in. The good news is that no matter what, the doctor will likely only prescribe him a small number of pills, and likely won't refill the prescription. I suggest that you accompany your husband to the appointment with his doctor. Perhaps the topic of post-procedure pain control will come up and the three of you will be able to discuss it before hand. Good luck.
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