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Opioids in Workers’ Compensation

Prescription opioids are often used to help alleviate moderate to severe pain symptoms. Opioids can be prescribed to help alleviate severe pain associated with surgeries or cancer or to help treat chronic pain. Pain medicine specialists will often recommend different courses of action to help alleviate pain before trying opioid prescriptions. These courses include over the counter medications, non-steroid prescriptions, anti-inflammatory prescriptions, physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, steroid injections, or other prescription medications.

If these alternatives do not help the patient’s pain symptoms, a pain medicine specialist may recommend a prescription opioid. The most common types of prescription opioids are:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

Common side effects of opioid prescriptions include drowsiness, confusion, nausea, constipation, and slowed breathing. Individuals using opioid medication long term may develop a tolerance requiring more frequent doses to help alleviate the same symptoms. Dependence and addiction can also result from repeated long-term use or misuse of opioid prescriptions.

Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee is entitled to compensation for any medical treatment deemed reasonable and necessary and causally related to the work injury. Treatment with a pain management specialist, including treatment with opioid prescriptions, may be deemed reasonable and necessary to treat chronic pain causally related to a work injury.

If you or a loved one has been denied compensation for treatment with a pain medicine specialist following a work injury, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information contact a skilled Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney with Rudberg Law Offices, LLC at 412.488.6000 or [email protected].