Register Now
Why register?
 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers December 18, 2018
Pharmacy Choice - Pharmaceutical News - Veterans finding opioid alternatives [Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.] - December 18, 2018

Pharmacy News Article

 8/15/17 - Veterans finding opioid alternatives [Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.]

Aug. 15A veteran who was becoming dependent on opioids for his back pain credits the local VA medical center with weaning him off and finding a successful non-opioid alternative.

James Alberty, an Air Force veteran, was taking VA prescribed opioids for lower back pain due to a compression fracture. His use of opioids was "getting pretty bad," and he asked for help from his medical team at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center.

Opioids include vicodin, norco, lortab, percocet, morphine, fentanyl and methadone.

Alberty was weaned off the drug and provided a non-opioid treatment with Neurolumen. The medical device, which is Food and Drug Administration approved, uses electrical stimulation, cold laser beams and light wavelength to reduce pain.

"The electrical impulses, low level laser and low level light stimulates the nerves to the point where they respond better to the electrical impulses," said Deborah Morrow, a licensed clinical social worker and pain clinic coordinator at the medical center.

Alberty said just one 30-minute session can make all the difference in the world.

He works in housekeeping at the medical center, and at the end of some days his back pain, from a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the worst pain possible, is an eight.

"After just 30 minutes using Neurolumen my pain can be reduced to a two," Alberty said.

He said that as he gets better at placing the pads over the right muscles and nerves, the faster his pain will be reduced.

In 2012 just over 31 percent of all active prescriptions were opioid prescriptions, Morrow said, who started tracking those numbers at that time.

Since then, the medical center has been on a concentrated course to reduce the number of opioids prescribed to veterans. This was accomplished by educating veterans and providers on the dangers of opioid addiction and dependency.

Veterans were then weaned off their pain medication and introduced to non-drug relief like Neurolumen, tai chi, pain school, using relaxation and mindfulness training and breathing techniques.

Pain school is an educational program designed to help patients get basic information on chronic pain management, Morrow said. The school is a walk-in clinic that helps veterans put together a pain management plan.

A six-session intensive program, Living Beyond Pain, focuses on how to do things in a way that works for the veteran instead of against the veteran.

As a result, five years later opioid prescriptions were reduced to 16.55 percent, Morrow said.

The medical center now limits opioid prescriptions to cancer pain, palliative care or short-term pain, she said.

"Daily opioids sort of trick the brain into feeling better about having the pain but they generally don't increase functioning and quality of life, which is what our chronic pain management is about," Morrow said.

The medical center served 3,227 veterans from Muskogee County with 160 seen in the pain clinic and 44 diagnosed with an opioid issue. Of the 1,231 veterans from Cherokee County seen at the medical clinic, 54 visited the pain clinic and 20 were diagnosed with opioid issues.

McIntosh County had 1,101 veterans go to the medical center, 47 were seen in the pain clinic and seven were diagnosed with opioid issues. Of the 764 veterans seen from Sequoyah County, 29 were seen in the pain clinic and nine had issues with opioids.

Reach Mark Hughes at (918) 684-2908 or


(c)2017 the Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.)

Visit the Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Pharmacy News Index
  Drug Delivery Systems
  FDA Final Approvals
  Front Page Healthcare News
  Generic Drugs
  Hospital Industry
  Internet Pharmacy
  IT in Healthcare
  Medicare & Medicaid
  Over-the-Counter Drugs
  Pharm Industry Trends and Policy
  Pharmaceutical Development
  Pharmaceutical Industry


Last Chance
Dec 18: Management of Insomnia and Anxiety Disorders
Last Chance
Dec 19: Efficacy vs. Safety: Treating BPH & Incontinence in the Elderly
Dec 20: Adult Immunizations: A Guide for Pharmacists, Techs & NPs
Dec 27: Medical Marijuana: The Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, Not The Politics
Jan 02: School is Out! Life is in Session: The Importance of Professional Development in Pharmacy
Click for entire Webinar Calendar

Special Announcement

Free Membership
Enjoy Drug Search, industry newsletters and more...

Nursing Jobs
Are you a nurse looking for a job?

Check out the Nursing Job Source.

Your number one choice for nursing jobs.

Websites »
Copyright © 2018 Pharmacy Choice - All rights reserved.
Terms and Conditions | Privacy Statement