14 Medications Pain Doctors Try to Avoid

Any doctor will tell you they must use the right tool for the job: If a patient’s pain is overwhelming, a doctor will have to bring out the most powerful solution—and that can mean opioids, despite the addiction risk of this class of painkillers. But there are safe and sensible ways to use opioids, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines. First, opioids are no longer a first-line—or routine—therapy for chronic pain. If a patient isn’t responding to other medications, opioids can help—but it’s important for patients to work with their doctor to establish treatment goals. Doctors and patients also need to check in regularly to review the goals and the patient’s progress—and consider alternatives, if necessary. Here’s how doctors feel about the various pain medications they use—and don’t use.