There are many people who never experience a headache or muscle ache at some point. And for those, we often turn to an over-the-counter medication for relief. However, when the pain is chronic and severe, such as that experienced from arthritis, cancer, an injury or another issue, we seek help from a pain doctor.
The doctor will often prescribe a stronger medication such as a prescription opioid, which is a form of narcotics. Opioids are known to have side effects, some more serious than others. And if you are on other prescription medications, it can pose even more possible issues.
Your pain doctor may prescribe opioids to be taken around-the-clock to manage your chronic pain. In some cases, depending on the patient, their pain and other medications they may be taking, opioids may prescribe to take “as needed” for times when the pain “breaks through” the other pain medication. Breakthrough pain is when pain flares up, disregard of the round-the-clock pain medication.
What You Need To Tell Your Doctor
When your pain doctor prescribes opioid pain medications, you should advise them the following:
· How your pain responds to the medication
· If you are experiencing any side effects
· If you have other medical conditions that may increase any side effect risk
How Opioid Drugs Work
These drugs work using your brain, spinal cord and other parts of your body. They will bind the opioid receptors in your brain, spinal cord, etc. to reduce the number of pain messages that you brain receives. This, in turn, reduces the feelings of pain you experience.
Opioids Aren’t Friendly
While moderate to severe pain can be treated by opioids, they are not friends with many all medications, especially pain medications. Some opioid drugs are:
· oxycodone and acetaminophen
· oxycodone and naloxone
Most of the opioid medications that a pain doctor prescribes can be taken orally. Some of these must be taken by injection and there are some that are available in a patch now.
Should you feels as if the medications that you’re taking are having adverse reactions, never change how you take them or quit taking them before consulting with your doctor. You can always expect some type of reaction, but when they are causing you more problems than they are helping, your doctor will need to make some changes.
To just quit a medication totally on your own is dangerous and could cause a severe problem. If it is time for you to quit taking opioids, the doctor will have a process of weaning you slowly.
Side Effects To Expect
As we’ve stated earlier, you can expect to have some kind of side effect when taking opioids. This is why you need to have open communication with your pain doctor so that they can monitor and adjust as needed. Some of the side effects are:
Always keep in mind that you should never consume alcohol while taking opioids. The combination can be dangerous and even deadly. Before you start taking any herbal or OTC medication in addition to what you’re already taking, consult with your pain doctor.