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Chronic Pain Specialist

Northshore Health -  - Addiction Medicine Specialist

Northshore Health

Addiction Medicine Specialist & Board Certified Family Medicine located in Bothell, WA

Chronic Pain


Chronic pain is a difficult problem for many people.  Oxycodone is often prescribed for chronic pain.  But oxycodone and most of the other opioid pain medications have effects that can make pain worse.   

They can cause a certain kind of pain known as hyperalgesia. This causes people to feel pain more intensely than they used to.  It can even cause whole body pain. Buprenorphine does not cause hyperalgesia.  It also works on an additional pathway to help control pain. 

Most opioids cause tolerance – the longer they are used, the higher the dose must go to provide the same pain relief.  Buprenorphine does not cause tolerance.  In Fact, often after it has been used for a few months, the dose can be reduced while still offering pain relief.   

Most opioids have a short half-life.  Within 2-4 hours, the level has dropped so low, that withdrawals set in.  This causes pain to increase.  Buprenorphine has a half-life of 42-47 hours.  This means that people do not experience withdrawal pain off and on several times a day and night.   

If you are on oxycodone or other prescription opioids, and want to explore another option, call us at 425-424-2100.