Ashley Copeland (right) talks to her mom Sue Iverson in the Swedish Medical Center emergency department, near Denver. Copeland got a nerve-blocking anesthetic instead of opioids to ease her severe headache. At discharge she was advised to use over-the-counter painkillers, if necessary. John Daley / CPR News
One of the most common reasons patients head to an emergency room is pain. In response, doctors may try something simple at first, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. And, at least up until recently, if that isn’t effective, the second line of attack has been the big guns.
“Percocet or Vicodin,” says Dr. Peter Bakes, an emergency medicine specialist at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colo. “Medications that certainly have contributed to the rising opioid epidemic.”
Now though, physicians are looking for alternatives