If you live with chronic pain and have been prescribed opioids, you may have heard of MME. MME stands for morphine milligram equivalents, a measurement pain management physicians use to determine how different opioids relate to each other. Using morphine as the standard, MME is a tool for doctors to compare different drugs in a simplified, unified measurement. This can ensure physicians prescribe safe, effective doses for their patients.

Sometimes referred to as morphine equivalent doses (MED), MME can help physicians better follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for prescribing opioids for patients who need them for chronic pain. MME measurements can help prevent opioid disorder and its resulting consequences, including accidental overdose and death.

What Do MME Doses Mean?

MME dosages for opioids are separated into a few different categories. Pain management physicians should prescribe the lowest effective dose to reduce your pain, although caution is used when considering opioids even at the lowest possible dose.

Lower dosages are considered to be 20-50 MME a day, with 50 or greater considered to be a higher dose. Patients taking 50 or greater MME daily are more at risk for problems related to opioid use.

Very high dosages are 90 or greater MME a day. The CDC recommends avoiding these dosages. No matter the dose of opioid prescribed, your physician will always carefully review the risks and benefits with you, and continue to reevaluate your needs to determine the effectiveness of your treatment plan in relation to the side effects and risk.

What Is Opioid Disorder?

Patients who take higher doses of opioids (50 or greater MME per day), especially long-term, are more at risk to develop opioid disorder. Opioid disorder is defined as a pattern of opioid use that impairs your ability to function or negatively affects your life in some way. What could opioid disorder look like?

  • Taking opioids in larger doses than prescribed
  • Taking opioids for a longer period of time than needed or intended
  • Trying unsuccessfully to reduce or control your use of opioids
  • Trouble functioning in daily life as the result of opioid use, such as at work or home
  • Continued opioid use despite these problems

Working with experienced health care professionals can ensure you are only prescribed opioids when absolutely necessary. Our board-certified physicians at Summit Spine & Joint Centers are committed to helping you find alternate, sustainable ways to treat your pain without relying exclusively on opioids.

Our Physicians Are Here for You

Have you been taking opioids with little or no effect on your chronic pain? If so, it’s time to consider a different approach. Call Summit Spine & Joint Centers at (770) 962-3642 to schedule an appointment with our pain management physicians to learn how we can improve your chronic pain.