Side Effects of Painkillers

painkillers addiction side effects

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All painkillers have side effects. But lots of side effects can be managed so that you can still take the medication. Talk to your doctor if you have any side effects. Your doctor might change your dose or the type of medicine you take.

OTC Painkillers

Whether you get a tooth pain, headache, arthritis, or period cramps, non-prescription medication might take your day from terrible to tolerable.

There are a lot of types of non-prescription (OTC) solutions to pick from, though– and each one helps eliminate pain in its own method.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

This medicine might trigger:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil, Aleve, and Motrin)

These might trigger:

  • Stomach upset, heartburn, and nausea. Taking the medication with food might assist avoid these issues.
  • Stomach ulcers and kidney problems (with long-term use).
  • Allergy (rare).
  • Enhanced danger of cardiac arrest and stroke. These risks are greater if the medicine is taken at higher dosages or for longer than recommended.
  • No one younger than 20 ought to take aspirin. It has actually been connected to Reye syndrome, a serious disease.

Prescription Painkillers

Prescription medicines are powerful drugs that hinder the anxious system’s transmission of the nerve signals we view as pain. Many pain relievers likewise promote portions of the brain related to pleasure. Hence, in addition to obstructing pain, they produce a “high.”

The most powerful prescription pain relievers are called opioids, which are opium-like compounds. They are manufactured to respond on the nervous system in the same way as drugs originated from the opium poppy, like heroin. The most commonly mistreated opioid pain relievers include oxycodone, hydrocodone, meperidine, hydromorphone and propoxyphene.

Anticonvulsant medications

These might cause:

  • Dizziness.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Confusion.
  • Skin rash.


These might cause:

  • Queasiness and throwing up.
  • Swelling of hands and feet.
  • Enhanced hunger.
  • Increased threat of infection.
  • Osteoporosis (with long-lasting usage).
  • Cataracts (with long-term use).

Because of the possibility of side effects, doctors normally aim to recommend steroid medications only for a short time.

Opiate painkiller

These may trigger:

  • Constipation.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or sensation faint.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Nausea or throwing up.

Opiate pain relievers are strong medicines that can be extremely valuable in treating pain, particularly after an injury or surgery. They are best when you utilize them precisely as your doctor prescribes. However there is a risk of dependency when you take them for more than a couple of days. The danger is lower if you follow your doctor’s guidelines on how to take them. Your risk is somewhat greater if you or somebody in your household has a history of substance abuse. If you are stressed over dependency, talk with your doctor.

If you are taking a long-acting opiate painkiller, see to it you understand ways to use it securely.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants

These might cause:

  • Queasiness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Loss of sexual desire or ability.
  • Headaches.
  • Weight gain.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressants

These might cause:

  • Constipation.
  • Cough.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea and loss of cravings.
  • Decrease in sexual desire or capability.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Weight reduction.

Tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants

These might cause:

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory on antidepressant medicines and the threat of suicide. Talk with your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide.

Prescription drugs can knock out persistent pain. However these and other opioids, which reduce pain perception, had mighty side effects.

Opioids aren’t for everybody. In fact, they’re typically reserved for patients with severe pain from terminal cancer.

“We prescribe opioids just when other treatments and pain medications don’t work,” states Benjamin Abraham, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Pain Management. “Because of the obstacles that can include utilizing opioids, patients who take them require careful tracking and regular follow-ups.”

One of the most significant obstacles is threat of abuse. Opioids are highly addictive. In the previous decade, the variety of deaths from painkillers, consisting of opioids, has quadrupled to almost 15,000 per year in the United States.


However even when used as prescribed, opioids can cause unwanted side effects consisting of:.

Constipation. Constipation is the most typical side effect of opioids, affecting approximately 90 percent of patients, according to one research. It can set in virtually immediately, after just a day or 2 of opioid use. Complications can vary from uncomfortable hemorrhoids to lethal bowel obstruction. That’s why most patients on opioids are advised to take stool softeners, laxatives or both.

Hormone imbalance. Opioid usage often causes low levels of testosterone or estrogen, the male and female sex hormonal agents. People might experience erectile dysfunction, minimized sex drive, tiredness, hot flashes, menstrual abnormalities, low energy, weight gain and anxiety. And hormonal agent imbalance can result in more major problems, such as infertility and osteoporosis.

The best resolution is to stop taking opioids. Another alternative is hormone replacement therapy, although estrogen replacement in women often brings other medical concerns.

Intensified pain. It might seem paradoxical, however opioids can in fact heighten pain in some individuals– in some cases within minutes of taking the drug. The reasons aren’t clear. People with this side effect are either transitioned to a different drug or weaned off opioids altogether.

Weakened body immune system. Your body’s capability to fight off infection weakens right away upon taking opioids, even if you do not get sick for months later on. Without any reliable way to increase immune function, the best way to handle this side effect is to stop taking opioids.

Anxiety. Studies reveal that about 10 percent of patients using opioids establish some sort of depression. If terminating opioids isn’t really preferred, antidepressants might help.

“These side effects are not limited to individuals who abuse opioids or have actually been taking opioids long-term,” states Dr. Abraham. “They can happen in anybody– even patients who just began an opioid routine.”

That’s why opioids should be used very carefully and just as a last solution because of their critical side effects.

Last modified: December 6, 2017


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One Reply to “Side Effects of Painkillers”

  1. Some information about acetaminophen side effects (I publish information from Canadian investigators):

    – Given that 2006, coroners as well as medical examiners have actually investigated at least 156 deaths where acetaminophen was deemed to be the single or contributing cause– and the way of fatality was either unintended or “unidentified,” suggesting suicide and also homicide had actually been eliminated.
    – In between 2000 and also 2009, a Statistics Canada data source recorded 253 unintended fatalities where acetaminophen was a major or adding cause of death.
    – Between 2005 as well as September 2013, Health Canada’s negative drug events data source got 2,402 reports where acetaminophen was a “suspicious product.” Of these, 287 were deadly.

    So, be careful even with moderate painkillers…

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