Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often comes with a litany of drugs to combat symptoms. Management of the condition includes over-the-counter and prescription drugs like opioids or anti-inflammatories. Some of these come with inherent risks. Opioids come with risks of dependency and bone fractures. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and progressive form of arthritis that causes the immune system to attack the joints. Symptoms can include swelling and pain. Find out why people with RA struggle with opioid addiction and how to provide help for loved ones who may be struggling. 

Prescription Drugs for RA

Opioids are often prescribed for RA due to the nature of the disease. It causes intense pain and inflammation throughout the body, making it difficult to cope with getting out of bed or caretaking for babies. Opioids bind to receptors in the brain to release chemicals that make the body feel good. The relief provided may spark a conditioned response known as a reward pathway where the body and brain crave what made them feel good. This creates dependency and, long term, addiction. Withdrawal is often a painful process from opioids, which is why they should be a last line of defense in the fight against RA. 

Risks for People with RA

Some of the associated risks to people with RA can include some serious health consequences. This includes the risk of bone fractures following drug use. Sedation from the use of opioids may contribute to fractures. Repeated exposure to opioids and other RA drugs can impact a person personally and professionally as it only treats some of the symptoms and leaves them with other issues, like addiction, and more pain due to struggles with quitting and still finding pain relief. A person who overcomes dependency on the drugs can do it with some help, but the body may not be able to adjust without medical support or detox. 

Opioid Dependency

People must take the role of health advocate when dealing with appointments. The need to taper off the drug and stick with the plan often overrides the need to get off the drugs. They provide temporary relief for a lifelong condition. Alternatives may be available to help deal with RA that is not as high risk. The biggest key to arthritis management is in proper treatment protocols. Speak with a physician about alternatives to opioids and practices for reducing the risk of addiction. It helps to have alternatives to avoid complications of overuse when it comes to RA drugs. 

RA drugs are potent. When used for longer periods, they often cause pain and difficulty for the person and their loved ones who care for them. We are here to help you find treatments that work so you don’t have to deal with RA pain and addiction. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702