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Local psychiatrist raises awareness of sustained opioid use to treat pain


BPH Dr Khaldoon Alsaee_3A psychiatrist and pain medicine specialist from the Buderim Private Hospital has released a video which aims to raise awareness with the community about the sustained use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain.

Opioids are a class of medications that come from the opium poppy plant which are commonly used to manage pain, especially acute pain that occurs after an injury or surgery.

The latest video in the Buderim Private Hospital’s Care to Share video series features an exclusive interview with psychiatrist and pain medicine specialist, Dr Khaldoon Alsaee.

“Issues that patients regularly experience following the prolonged use of opioids include developing a tolerance to these medications, experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and a dependence on these medications to function at work, home and socially,” Dr Alsaee said.

“Longer term what can also happen is that these medications at high doses can actually make pain worse. So for some people taking these medications they actually experience more pain than they had previously,” he said.

“The good news is there are excellent treatment options available. We understand that being in pain is not easy so I would say to people that it’s not their fault, they are not alone and there are people who can help you in a very effective and non-judgmental way,” he said.

“In simple terms, treatment involves a combination of the four ‘Rs’ – restriction, rotation, reduction and replacement. There are also important non-medical treatments available so we work together with physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists to ensure we are giving people access to all the treatments required to get them better.“

“Non-opioid medications, infusions and recent advancements in nerve and spinal stimulation are also very useful in the treatment of pain and can assist with reducing the need for opioids.”

Karen Clark, General Manager of the Buderim Private Hospital, encourages community members to watch the video to better understand the risks of sustained opioid use.

“I think that patients, family members and the medical community coming together to openly discuss the risks involved in the prolonged use of high-dose opioids is a great step forward,” Ms Clark said.

“We know this is currently an issue in Australia so being aware of the challenges of prolonged opioid use, taking appropriate action to prevent unnecessary use and encouraging people to speak up and seek treatment is very important,” she said.

Community members can visit to view the video or to learn more about the hospital’s comprehensive range of mental health services and specialists.