People who become addicted to prescription painkillers then frequently end up taking more medications to address the side effects and overdoses, says The Washington Post.
“Many patients wind up very sedated from opioids, and it’s not uncommon to give them amphetamines to make them more alert. But now they can’t sleep, so they get Ambien or Lunesta. The amphetamines also make them anxious, paranoid and sweaty, and that means even more drugs,” says Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, who also serves as chief medical officer to Phoenix House, a nonprofit that offers drug and alcohol treatment in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
And by promoting opioid-induced constipation as a condition in need of more targeted treatment, critics say the drug industry is creating incentives to maintain the painkillers at full strength and add another pill instead of cutting pain medication doses or trying non-drug interventions.