Treating Pain With Fewer Opioids

The nation’s addiction to opioids is part of a crisis plaguing communities across America and particularly the DC Metro Area. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid deaths have nearly tripled in the past 15 years.

But a possible antidote — created in New Jersey — could be part of the solution to the growing crisis.

“In the last year, we have treated over thousands of patients in the United States,” Pacira Pharmaceuticals CEO Dave Stack said. “So there’s very little doubt that we have had some modest impact on opioid epidemic.”

It was five years ago when the drug Exparel hit the market, with the local, long-lasting anesthetic designed to reduce pain in those tough few days after surgery. But the real selling point is that unlike Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycodone, Exparel is not an opioid.

“It has changed the way I think about treating patients from the beginning until the end. “I talk about pain medication differently. My patients understand pain medications and the risks differently.”

Opioid abuse is ravaging the country, killing nine Americans every day. Pacira Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, makes Exparel, fighting back against the growing epidemic by giving patients a non-opioid option.

The drug maker says Exparel can eliminates opoiod side effects like nausea and constipation. Also, it reduces the chance of yet another American potentially getting hooked on pain pills.

Dr. Patel is an active member of the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative and strongly suggests the use of Exparel to all of her patients postoperatively for the extraction of Wisdom teeth. Exparel, which manages pain for three or four days, works almost like a slow drip inside the body.

“If this can cut down on some of the addiction, deaths and overdoses, I highly recommend it,”.

This past September Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an Executive Order Establishing an Advisory Commission on Opioid Addiction. “It’s essential that we draw upon the knowledge and experience of experts and community partners from across Virginia in order to develop policies and interventions that will reduce the impact of addiction in the Commonwealth” Says Northam.

“I think what is really good is that patients are now understanding of the depth of the problem and are taking control of the their own healthcare and are demanding opioid-free or reduced opioid at least post-surgical treatment strategies, “And I am determined to give them this option”Says Dr. Patel.