When a Medication Side Effect Is a Sequel to Your Work Injury [infographic]
Some medications are taken for work injuries act to relieve injury symptoms and promote healing, but they can also cause harmful side effects on otherwise healthy parts of the body. Debilitating injuries, permanent damages, addiction, and death can result from the use of post-injury medication. If a workers compensation claim is accepted, injured workers who experience medication side effects as a sequel to work injuries may be entitled to compensation.
(Article continues below infographic)
Medication Side Effects
When an injury occurs, medications are often prescribed to alleviate pain and swelling and promote faster healing. These factors are especially important with serious work injuries that can result in time away from the job and possible lost or reduced wages. Many medications cause negative side effects, but patient reactions and severity can vary significantly between individuals, depending on the medication, dosage, and length of use. While some people may experience mild nausea or constipation, others may experience debilitating or permanent side effects from medications.
The medications most commonly prescribed for work injuries are analgesics (painkillers) and anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, Celecoxib) that reduce inflammation and swelling. Serious work injuries from slip and fall accidents or equipment malfunction often result in sprains, lacerations, broken bones, amputations, neck, back and spinal injuries, and head trauma. Workers who experience such severe work injuries are often forced to take strong painkillers that contain opiates for long periods of time.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opiate addiction has become a national epidemic among people of all ages. Workers who suffer severe on-the-job injuries and are prescribed opiates for chronic pain are among a rising group of people seen with opioid addictions and overdoses in the U.S. Data shows that the overdose rate is highest among middle-aged workers and people of working age. Workers with back injury claims are commonly prescribed opioids for long-term pain relief, despite medical evidence of serious side effects. CDC reports note that 42 percent of workers with back injuries got opioid prescriptions after their first medical visit, and 16 percent of those workers were still taking opioids after a full year of treatment. Prolonged use of opiates like Oxycodone, Codeine, Tramadol, and morphine are known to have a number of serious side effects, including dental decay and drug addiction.