Policy for Prescription Narcotic Use

Institutes & Services > TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute

It is the goal of Hand Surgery Specialists, Inc. to provide the best care possible for our patients. In order to reach this goal, it is necessary to provide information to keep our patients informed. Although this letter probably addresses only a few of those who read it, we feel it is important to have this policy available to you.

Our office policy on the use and prescription of narcotics is as follows:

No new narcotic or refill narcotic prescriptions will be called in after 5:00 PM on weekdays or during the weekend – NO EXCEPTIONS. If you feel that you are going to run out of your prescription, please phone us at least one business day prior so your physician may review the request before you run out.

Office Visits:

No narcotics will be prescribed for chronic pain. However, narcotics may be prescribed for acute injuries only when they are less than one week old.

If you are under the supervision of a pain management physician, we expect you to disclose this information to us on your first visit. Failure to do so would be fraud, and would violate your contract with your pain management physician.

Post-operative:

Narcotics will only be prescribed for a period up to two to three weeks after a surgical procedure. There are, of course, the occasional exceptions to the rule. We may need to see you to reevaluate your condition prior to renewing your prescription.

If you are on chronic narcotics from a pain management physician, you will need to receive your post-operative pain medicine from that physician, unless pre-arranged with us prior to your surgery.

As part of keeping our patients informed, we want to make you aware of the reasons why we limit the use of narcotics.

  1. Severe postoperative/post injury pain that would require narcotics will usually reduce significantly by 2-3 days after surgery or injury and is gone by 10-14 days. Postoperative needs for narcotics longer than this period may signal complications that need more direct or specific treatment instead of covering up the problem. Typically, however, it is known that a longer need for narcotics more often than not means that you are up doing too much and “chasing” it with narcotics. Although you may desire to be active, it is possible to be “too active.” You need to listen to your body and respond to it. Overall, you will recover more quickly reducing your activities so that your pain is controllable without the need for narcotics. After all, your goal is to make the best recovery from your surgery or injury you can.
  2. After 3-7 days your brain wants to and is supposed to kick in and manage the pain naturally. This is the best way to manage medium and long-term soreness and milder pain. Narcotics are known to block this normal process.
  3. Narcotics are proven to be habit forming. Dependency on pain medication can start in as little as 2 weeks after beginning their use. We cannot tolerate allowing this to happen.

In addition, the Ohio State Medical Society and The Drug Enforcement Administration track physicians and their use of narcotics. An orthopaedic surgeon is not expected to prescribe narcotics long term. We agree with this policy. Therefore, if you are receiving narcotics from your previous physician or primary care physician, you will need to continue that.

We do not deny that you often have pain; however, it is necessary to be aware of your own ability to tolerate pain and the need to rely on this process in a timely manner. We have created this policy to assist in assuring that our patients receive the best care possible and we appreciate your assistance in enforcing it.

If you have any questions regarding our office policy on the use of narcotics, feel free to contact us so that we can discuss it. In addition, if you feel you need help with long-term (chronic) pain control, we will be happy to guide you to a pain management specialist.

You will be asked to indicate that you have read the above information and understand our narcotic pain medication policy by signing a separate form. Again, our concern is to provide you with the best results possible.

We are physicians, hospitals and communities working together to help you live better.