What is prescription opioids?
Prescription opioids are a class of drugs, which has morphine-like effects. This type of medication is used to treat and manage moderate-to-severe pain. Additionally, opioid drugs are often the chosen option after surgery, injury, or another painful health condition. In the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of opioid painkillers by pain management providers and clinics. Despite the serious risks opioids can present to patients, including addiction, doctors preferred suggestion to manage symptoms of pain is for the patient to take prescription opioids.
Opioid drugs work by binding to specific receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. They interfere with the brain’s ability to send pain messages, subsequently reducing symptoms of pain.
Prescription opioids come in various forms—tablets, capsules, syrups, solutions and suppositories.
Some of the most used opioid painkillers
- fentanyl: Actiq, Duragesic, and Fentora
- hydrocodone: Hysingla ER and Zohydro ER
- hydrocodone/acetaminophen: Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin
- hydromorphone: Dilaudid, Exalgo
- meperidine: Demerol
- methadone: Dolophine, Methadose
- oxycodone: OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone
- morphine: Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR
- oxycodone and acetaminophen: Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet
- oxycodone and naloxone: Targiniq ER
Because of the risk of abuse and addiction, opioids should be taken cautiously, even when for chronic pain. However, opioids medications are an excellent choice, when controlling pain in the later stages of a terminal illness. At that point, the possibility of long-term effects and addiction is not relevant.
What are the most common painkiller side effects?
Opioid painkillers produce a feeling of relaxation and euphoria, and they are also addictive. The long-term use of these medications often leads to physical dependence. In other words, the body quickly adapts to the presence of the drug and depends on the continuous intake to prevent withdrawal symptoms. As a result, tolerance also occurs, meaning, that higher and higher doses are necessary, in order to achieve the same results.
Here are some of the adverse side effects prescription opioids can cause, even when taken as directed:
- Physical dependence
- Hyperalgesia: Higher sensitivity to pain
- Nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth
- Sleepiness and dizziness
- Low testosterone levels
Prescription Opioid Abuse and Overdose
Anyone who continuously uses prescription opioids can develop an addiction. In fact, research shows that one in four patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with opioid dependency. Once physically dependent, it can be tough to stop. It is important to realize that taking too many painkiller opioids can also lead to death. Taking high doses can affect breathing function such an extent, it stops. Recognizing an overdose can be challenging. If you aren’t sure, don’t leave the person alone and make sure you call 911.
Signs of an opioid overdose may include any of the following:
- Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils.”
- Not being able to stay awake
- Loss of consciousness
- Slow/ shallow breathing
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Limp body
- Pale, blue, or cold skin
Prescription opioid overdose deaths often involve additional substances such as alcohol, and benzodiazepines (Xanax®, Valium®, and Ativan®). The appropriate use of naloxone can also reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when administered in time.
Waismann Method – A highly successful treatment for opioid addiction
As one of the top opioid detox treatment provider in the country, the Waismann Method is creating a massive shift in how addiction is viewed and treated. However, the embrace of the medical evolution in neuroscience, shows that opiate treatment protocols may be changing. America is finally starting to look at addiction as a medical condition, instead of a moral failure; a condition that should be treated in a hospital, by physicians.
One of the main reasons drug rehabs have such a high failure treating opioid addiction is because of how powerful the drug is. Users must keep using the drugs to stave off withdrawal. Medications like methadone and buprenorphine (also known as Suboxone) are a continuation of the opioid intake. The key to a successful treatment is to start with an effective medical detoxification. By overcoming a withdrawal, an individual can concentrate on emotional issues. This process significantly reduces the risk of relapse.
For more information on medical detoxification and treatment of prescription opioids, please call 1-800-423-2482.