Treatments

Using Opioid Pain Medication

Source: WebMD
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In cases of more severe pain, your doctor may recommend a prescription opioid.  Opioids are a narcotic pain medication that may have serious side effects.


Opioid drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body.  Opioids decrease the sending of pain messages to the brain and reduce pain.


Some types of opioid drugs include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydrocodone/acetaminophen, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone, mophine, oxycodone, oxycodone and acetaminophen, oxycodone and naloxone.


Your doctor may prescribe around-the-clock doses to relieve pain.  Additionally, your doctor may prescribe opioids to be taken as needed in the event that you suffer from breakthrough pain which is a flare of pain that occurs even with constant doses of pain medication.


When it is time to stop taking opioids, your doctor may gradually wean you off them. Otherwise you may have withdrawal symptoms.


Your doctor will need to manage your pain medication closely due to certain side effects.  These side effects include constipation, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting.


Opioids may not be safe if taken with alcohol or certain drugs including some antidepressants, some antibiotics, and sleeping pills.  Your doctor should know all medicines that you are taking including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal supplements.


After using an opioid for a time, you may find that you need more of the drug to achieve the same pain reduction.  This is known as tolerance which is not the same as addiction which involves a compulsive use of the drug.


After using an opioid medication over a period of time, you may become dependent.  Your body is dependent if it suffers from withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop taking the opioid.  Withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, anxiety, and irritability.


Opioids may have an immense effect on people suffering from severe pain.  They can be a useful therapy, so long as they are used safely and carefully.