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Narcotics (Opiate) Medications:
What are they & their side effects!

Narcotics! If you watch TV, read the newspaper or listen to the radio you will have definitely heard of narcotic medications.

Background Information:

  • Narcotics are also known as Opiate or Opiod medications
  • These medications are used to relieve pain in patients with chronic neck and back pain
  • These medicationss are originally derived from the juice of the opium poppy
  • Some are still made from the opium poppy, while others are man made
  • Opiates come in powder, liquid or pill form and can be taken orally, applied as a patch or injected
  • These types of meds should only be one (1) part of your treatment plan!
  • Codeine (Tylenol® #3)
  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®, Percodan®)
  • Morphine (MS Contin®, Oramorph®)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®)
  • Fentanyl Patch (Duragesic®) :

How do Narcotics Work?:

  • By attaching to something called an opiod receptor in the brain where they attach,;interfere & stop the transmission of pain messages to the brain.
  • They also change your mental or emotional reaction to pain.
  • Patients sometimes report still being aware of pain, but they don't have a big dislike to the pain.

Side Effects You May Experience :

  • Sleepiness/drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Breathing difficulty at higher dosages
  • Slowness in thinking
  • May produce tolerance & addiction. Addiction is rare in most patients. Read Addiction: Understand the Facts & Don't be Scared for more information.

Opiod Pills vs Patches? Advantages of using a patch (example Duragesic) include:

  • Fewer patients have fewer side effects such as:
    constipation, nausea and vomiting, and daytime drowsiness
  • a higher degree of patient satisfaction
  • improved quality of life,
  • improved convenience and compliance resulting from administration every 72 hours
  • Decreased use of break through or short-acting medication.
Society for Neuroscience
How to Cope With
The John Hopkins Arthritis Center
Benefit-risk Assessment of Transdermal Fentanyl for Chronic Pain Treatment
"Get Knowledge, Get Tools, Get Active"
Kirkland, WA  
Phone: 425-820-2600

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for medical advice. We make no guarantees of the completeness
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