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Letters: Opioid alternative

October 15, 2018

As a retired endodontist, I am thrilled that Dr. Kenneth Hargreaves is receiving the 2018 Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research.

I do not know Dr. Hargreaves well, but I did meet him at several meetings of the American Association of Endodontists.

I retired from my practice in 2010. Sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s, I attended a lecture where Dr. Hargreaves stated that Advil and Extra Strength Tylenol gave as much pain relief as any opiate. For the last 10 years or so years of my practice, I never again prescribed an opiate. I told every patient to take Advil and Extra Strength Tylenol as often as every six hours, and I never got a call from a patient saying they were in pain and needed something stronger.
I had a neighbor who was taking opiates after an operation that got her dizzy, nauseous and sick, and I told her to switch to the Advil and Tylenol regime.

She called me the next day to tell me how well she felt and also had no pain.
I would encourage all my fellow dentists, who are still practicing, to take Dr. Hargreaves’ advice and see how you can stop prescribing opiates.

You’ll be very pleased.

Edwin S. Mehlman, D.D.S.
Warren, Rhode Island

Editor’s note: The ADA Dental Drug Handbook: A Quick Reference has guidance for analgesic use according to pain level on Page 4. For moderate to severe pain, the handbook recommends 400-600 mg of ibuprofen plus 500 mg of acetaminophen every six hours for 24 hours then 400 mg of ibuprofen plus 500 mg of acetaminophen as needed for pain every six hours. There are different guidelines for mild, mild to moderate and severe pain.