Opioid pain medications
Opioid pain medications such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Codeine, are used to treat moderate to severe pain.
Mature adults (60 & older)
Mature adults are more likely to live with pain and/or chronic illnesses. Those seeking treatment for pain or coming out of surgery are often given opioid medications. In some cases, these medications are prescribed at doses too high and may react badly with other regular medications.
Opioid use disorder (oud)
Opioids are not intended for long- term chronic pain. It only takes weeks for someone to become physically dependent on opioids and develop a tolerance. An older adult who is taking opioids ordered by their doctor may begin overusing them without realizing the serious consequences that can happen.
Using opioids can quickly lead to dependence, a condition that may require help to overcome. This condition is sometimes called oud.
Some common side effects of opioids:
- Can make you feel sick to your stomach
- Can slow down your gut & cause constipation
- Can cause problems emptying your bladder
- Can make you feel dizzy and affect your driving
- Can make you feel confused and slow down your thinking and reflexes
Serious side effects of opioids:
- Can affect your balance and walking causing falls & serious injuries
- Can become physically and psychologically dependent
- Higher doses can slow down your breathing and may even cause death
Alternatives to opioids
- Medications like tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen and aleve are not opioids. They may work better to control pain and have fewer side effects than opioids. Ask your doctor which pain medication is best for you.
- There are also other therapies for pain control that may help such as physical therapy, ultrasound
- Treatment, aromatherapy, and music therapy.
This publication was made possible by grant number 1h79t108700-01 from samhsa (substance abuse and mental health services administration) and the arkansas department of human services division of aging, adult and behavioral services (daabhs).