Many patients on Suboxone or buprenorphine eventually require pain treatment, just like people who aren’t on buprenorphine products. I’ve written about post-op pain control several times, but I continue to get emails from patients who haven’t seen my comments and who view an upcoming surgery with the same fear experienced by patients before the early 1900’s, when the OR was correctly seen as a horror-chamber.
These patients are often torn between following the treatment plan vs. doing what they have learned may work better. In all cases, I tell patients that they cannot act in ways counter to what their physician prescribes. But I often support their intent to ask their doctors to clarify or modify their treatment plans.
Patients write about ‘the look’– the way doctors, nurses, and pharmacists react when patients ask about pain control. As a recovering addict myself, I know what they are referring to. Doctors encourage other patients to discuss concerns about pain control, and as long as they have no piercing or tattoos, patients will usually be comforted with assurances that their doctors will take their pain seriously. But people on buprenorphine often see their doctors roll their eyes, or even say that the opposite is true– that if they have pain, they had better not bother the doctor about it! Doctors who act that way are asses, of course, and I urge patients to avoid them if possible. This post is not for those doctors, as they are not likely to ‘get it’ after reading the comments of another doctor— if they would ever read them in the first place!