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Be careful when you use opioids

There are very few purists as compared to people who medicate by using over the counter drugs for minor pain from athritis to headaches. However, for stronger pain we might be prescribed an opioid.

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These drugs reduce or eliminate pain by binding with the our opioid receptors in the brain, the spinal cord, and other choice locations in the body. These drugs are not to be taken lightly; they do have side effects.

If you are going to use these medications you need to be very cautious in how you use them. They are only prescribed when over the counter medicines do not work.

The types of opioid medications

The list provided in WebMD include:

  • Most of these medications are oral medications. However, fentanyl is a patch so the medications is absorbed by the skin. You can also get some of these opioids in a combination form of the opioid and tylenol. These medications are: Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)

  • Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen)

A prescription is needed for these drugs and you need to work with the doctor and let the doctor know if the opioid is working and what side effects you may be having because of using the drug. The doctor will adjust the medication accordingly. Most importantly your doctor must know if you have kidney problems or you have any other medical conditions such as sleep apnea. Of course your doctor needs to know if you are taking the medication properly and if you are on any other medication.

Breakthrough pain

There are a few ways to take opioids. You may be advised to take only when needed. Or you may be told to take it at certain hours or for breakthrough pain. Breakthrough pain is the pain that you sometimes get even while you are taking medication. Breakthrough pain may come on suddenly with no warning, or perhaps you have changed a routine, or did something differently and suddenly you feel this breakthrough pain.

You have heard it already before but do not stop opioids or any other medication without the approval from your doctor. If you don’t come off the drug properly you may have withdrawal symptoms. So make sure you listen to the doctor and go by what he says when it is time to come off these medications.

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