Host: As many of you know, prescription drugs can help mask pain and it’s just for the now, but they are never the answer for fixing the problem long term. Dr. Rudy Gari from Florida Pain Relief Group wants to help us with an alternative. Welcome back Dr. Gari, nice to see you.
Dr. Gari: Nice seeing you.
Host: Now, when you work in the field of pain relief you must see a lot of people on an everyday basis coming in who have been on many, many prescription drugs for a very long time, because they’re in such pain. What do you say to these people when they come into your office?
Dr. Gari: Well, the first thing we tell them is this is not the only option. There’s a lot of things that we can do for you, and medications, especially prescription medications that can have some significant side effects, we have to make sure, number one, is it the right medication that you’re taking? So one of the first things that we do is we perform a test called pharmacogenomics. Pharmacogenomics is using your own genetic makeup to make sure that that medication that you have is the right medication for you. So we may adjust it, and what we’re looking for is something that’s going to reduce the side effects, but give you better pain relief. Now, it’s a several step process. The other thing we’re going to do is we’re going to diagnose you. We’re going to figure out exactly what’s wrong with you, because the medications are often treating the symptoms. So we want to get right to the source, you know, what is it that’s causing that pain? And there’s a lot of things that we can do for that.
Host: Okay, so you’re looking at, in terms of side effects, I mean, addiction is one of the most obvious side effects. So, what kind of pain relief management can you offer people who are in so much pain and on drugs?
Dr. Gari: Okay, so the first thing that we need to differentiate is drug addiction and drug dependence. Okay, so let me give an example. Drug addiction, when a patient is addicted to drugs like opioids, or narcotics as they call them, when we give them medication like an opioid, the level of function decreases. When a patient is dependent on their medication and we give an opioid, the level of function increases. So here’s an analogy. Let’s just say they have high blood pressure. You are dependent on your high blood pressure medication. So what we know for a fact is that if you are in serious pain, and you’re taking medication for that pain, the risk of addiction is actually quite minimal. So we have to separate those, so that sometimes we have patients that have both. They have problems with pain, and they also may have a problem with addiction, and we treat both of them.
Host: What other potential harmful effects are there for people on certain prescription drugs, and how do you help them?
Dr. Gari: Okay, certainly for…well the main thing is a lot of patients unfortunately have a lot of psychosocial problems because…
Dr. Gari: Psychosocial, meaning that, you know, it’s not just them, it’s the entire family that’s involved. So I talk to the family.
Host: So co-dependence, etc.
Dr. Gari: Yes, and sometimes the family doesn’t understand what’s going on. So we go over what’s causing the pain, what medication are we taking? Can we change some of the medication, something that might work better for you? Can we perform certain procedures that’s going to lower your dependence on these medications?
Host: And perhaps save their lives?
Dr. Gari: Yes, yes, absolutely, and some of the biggest gratification is we have these patients that come in, they’re depressed. Their families don’t understand. We talk to the family, tell them what’s going on, we help them out, and we like to give them their life back.
Host: Boy, that’s…and you know, giving somebody their life back after they’ve been on so many mind-altering drugs for so long must be the greatest gift in the world.
Dr. Gari: There’s nothing more gratifying to me than doing just that.
Host: Well, keep up the good work Dr. Gari, and Florida Pain Relief Group even schedules same day appointments, so be sure to visit their website, floridapainreliefgroup.com, or give a call 844-KICK-PAIN, and we’ll be right back with more Daytime right after this.