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In 2015, Travis Rieder was hit by a van while he was riding his motorcycle. Unfortunately, this experience crushed his foot and for a long time, doctors weren’t sure whether they’d be able to save it. Over the course of the next five weeks, Travis spent time in three hospitals and had a total of five surgeries as doctors cut, poked and prodded him in an effort to save his foot. Because he was experiencing incredible pain, he was given morphine, fentanyl and hydromorphone through an IV in the hospital. During breaks when he returned home from the hospital, he was also given increasing dosages of oxycodone and gabapentin.

While Travis wasn’t concerned at the time about the amount of medications he was being prescribed, that changed when he visited his orthopaedic surgeon about two months after the accident for a follow-up appointment. It was at that point that his surgeon asked him how much pain medication he was taking.

When Travis nonchalantly told him that he was taking 115mg of oxycodone a day — possibly more — his surgeon turned serious. He said, ‘Travis, that’s a lot of opioids. You need to think about getting off the meds now’.

Because this was the first time anyone had expressed concern about the painkillers he was taking, Travis was stunned. For months he’d been receiving increasingly higher doses and nobody had ever warned him about the risks of opioid dependence.

…continue reading ‘Tapering Off Pain Medication Safely’

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