Opioids are Harmful, But Discontinuing Them Can Be Risky, Too

A bottle of pills

Medications, and the risk of becoming dependent on them, are not your only option for treating pain.

When you suffer from chronic pain, you likely spend a good amount of time thinking about your pain and how to manage it. If you have been dealing with your pain for multiple years, there is a good chance that you were prescribed opioids at one point – and perhaps still rely on them as part of your pain management regimen.

Unfortunately, the opioid crisis has made it clear that these drugs have been overprescribed, and the medical community is scrambling to rectify the situation. Perhaps, after learning about the risks of long-term opioid use, you’ve decided that you want to stop using them for pain management. Or, it’s possible that your doctor has faced pressure to stop prescribing or refilling prescriptions for opioids. – in fact, in 2016, the CDC issued guidelines for prescribing opioids that encouraged doctors to limit pain pill prescriptions and cut some patients off altogether. Whether it’s your own choice or your doctor’s, you may be facing the daunting prospect of discontinuing opioids.

The next step may seem, at first glance, quite simple: stop taking opioids, and switch to something else. But as Dr. Daniel L. Kirsch, the inventor of Alpha-Stim®, experienced firsthand, this is not always the best or easiest choice.

“I was on Fentanyl for over a year due to a severe disease but the day I was cured I went off it cold turkey. That’s how badly I wanted to get off it when I got well. I was on patches that lasted 72 hours and if I was late in changing the patch, I went through withdrawal until my wife could apply the next patch. I called it the heebie-jeebies. It’s rough being addicted like that. I think the best way is to not start [severely addictive pain medications]” says Dr. Kirsch.

Dr. Daniel L. Kirsch, inventor of Alpha-Stim, experienced firsthand the addictive nature of pain medications

Dr. Kirsch’s experience is bolstered by a recent alert from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which announced that abruptly changing an opioid prescription could actually cause more harm than good. On October 10, HHS published its new guide for appropriate tapering or discontinuation of opioids among long term users.

The guide explains that tapering off of opioids “must be done slowly and carefully…in a patient-centered, compassionate, guided way.” Stopping suddenly “can lead to acute withdrawal symptoms, provoke thoughts of suicide and lead patients to seek out illicit opioids” in an attempt to feel better. Instead, a slow and thoughtful approach needs to be undertaken, with the patient’s wellbeing taking top priority instead of rigid guidelines that are not a good fit for all. But some people find it nearly impossible even with medication assisted withdrawal (MAT) where they use drugs to get people off of other drugs.

In light of the opioid crisis and the attempt to rectify it, it’s important to know that opioids – and pain medications in general – are not the only way to manage pain. Alpha-Stim® is an FDA cleared medical device proven to safely and effectively treat acute, post-traumatic, and chronic pain. And since it is not a drug, there is no risk of addiction, lasting side effects, or withdrawal.

To treat pain, Alpha-Stim uses two handheld Smart Probes to deliver Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET) directly to the site of your pain. Alpha-Stim is non-invasive and easy to use. Treatments take only minutes, yet results are long lasting and often immediate.

Since Alpha-Stim is not a drug, it is safe to use in conjunction with any other treatment modalities you may be using to manage your pain. There is no risk of misuse or overuse with Alpha-Stim. In fact, results are cumulative over time – the more you use your device, the better you’ll feel, and the less often you may need to use it.

A man uses Alpha-Stim

Alpha-Stim’s handheld Smart Probes deliver drug-free relief directly to the site of your pain

Whether you’re looking to discontinue opioids or hoping to avoid taking pain medications in the first place, Alpha-Stim is an ideal option for quickly and safely treating your pain. Its effectiveness is backed by decades of experience and more than 100 clinical research studies. Patient testimonials abound, as well – one veteran even avoided the amputation of both of his legs once he discovered relief with Alpha-Stim.

You don’t have to live with pain, and you don’t have to settle for medication that may do more harm than good. With Alpha-Stim, you can have relief and your wellbeing. Get started today, and let nothing stop you.

The Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics can be found here.

About Alpha-Stim

Alpha-Stim® is an FDA cleared, handheld medical device that has been proven time and again to effectively treat acute, post traumatic, and chronic pain, as well as insomnia. Alpha-Stim uses cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), delivered through a patented waveform via two earclip electrodes, to treat insomnia. Microcurrent electrical therapy (MET) delivers pain relief directly to the source of discomfort via two handheld Smart Probes.

The safety and effectiveness of Alpha-Stim is backed by over 100 independent clinical research studies. Unlike with medications, there is no risk of addiction or lasting side effects.

Alpha-Stim is available by prescription in the United States and over-the-counter in other countries. Get started today!