Opiates are medicines used to relieve moderate to severe pain.
They may be used for a short time for pain, such as after surgery. Or they may be used for long-term pain. They don't cure a health problem. But they help you manage the pain.
Opiates relieve pain by changing the way your body feels pain and the way you feel about pain.
Sometimes opiates are used for people who can't take other pain medicines. They may be prescribed if you have heart, kidney, or liver problems. For instance, you may take an opiate instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
Opiates are powerful medicines. You may need to take extra steps to stay safe.
Opiates or other medicines that contain them include:
Taking too much (overdose) of an opiate can cause death. To avoid an overdose:
Common side effects include:
You may have other side effects or reactions. Check the information that
comes with your medicine.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need
emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate
medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of:
August 24, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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