Paterson hospital finds alternative medicines to opioids

Posted: Updated:

A Paterson hospital has vowed to reduce the amount of opioid treatments it offers and find other medications that work just as well.

St. Joseph’s University Medical Center was the first hospital in the country to launch the ALTO program two years ago.

Hospital officials say that with opiate addiction becoming an epidemic, they owed it to the patients to put greater effort into finding medications that were not as addicting. For acute pains dealing with issues like chronic back pain, migraines, kidney stones they look for opioid alternatives.

"More of anti-inflammatory, some topical, patches and medications that weren't so frequently used before,” says Dr. Adelaide Viguri, associate medical director of emergency room pain management. “We try to encourage [patients] to see a pain management doctor."

St. Joseph officials say that they've seen a 50 percent reduction in opioid prescriptions since the start of the ALTO program and they continue to look for new alternatives.

"Nitrous oxide for sedation. That was previously used in dental clinics for many years.  We're now starting to use that in our emergency departments,” Viguri says.

The hospital has also partnered with Eva's Village in Paterson, which works with patients who've been revived from an opioid overdose.

The ALTO program has recently expanded to Saint Joseph's Wayne Medical Center.

President Donald Trump declared the opioid addiction crisis a nationwide public health emergency.

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