Opioids (or narcotics) are a type of medication used for severe pain relief. Some examples include codeine, morphine, and hydrocodone. Opioids should only be used for a short time after a surgery or serious injury. When used for a long time, opioids may not take care of your pain as well as they did at first. Instead, taking opioids for a long time may make you feel more pain. This is called opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH).
If you have been taking opioids, they may be causing your pain to be worse if:
- Your pain is getting worse, not better, over time, especially right after your opioid dose increases
- Your pain is more widespread than it was when you started taking opioids
- You experience pain with normally non-painful events such as the wind, temperature changes, or brushing your hair
Other effective pain management options are available with fewer side effects, including:
- Non-drug treatments such as physical therapy, exercise, and mindfulness meditation
- Non-opioid pain medications commonly seen over the counter, such as Aleve, Advil, and Tylenol
- Other methods including lidocaine patches, anti-inflammatory gels, hot and cold compresses, and injections
Please speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about the side effects of opioid medications and to find out about other, non-opioid pain-relieving treatments.
You can download the FREE NARCANsas app on your cellphone, tablet or computer.
This app will provide you with resources, links, and tools that will help you administer the drug naloxone and provide steps on how to save a person’s life in the event of an opioid overdose.
The app also has information for treatment, prevention and recovery of opioid use disorder.
FOR ANDROID USERS: Google Play: https://bit.ly/2VYcpq8
FOR APPLE USERS: I-Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/narcansas/id1460163807?mt=8
- Bottemiller S. Opioid-induced hyperalgesia: an emerging treatment challenge. Pain Management [Internet]. 2012 May [cited 2020 Jun 16]; 37(5):HS-2-HS-7. URL: https://www.uspharmacist.com/ article/opioid-induced-hyperalgesia-an-emerging-treatment-challenge
- Lee M, Silverman S, Hansen H, Patel V, Manchikanti L. A comprehensive review of opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Pain Phys [Internet]. 2011 [Cited 2020 Jun 16]; 14:146-161. URL: https://www.painphysicianjournal.com/current/pdf?article=MTQ0Ng==&journal=60
Division of Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services
This education was made possible by Grant Number 1H79T108700-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services (DAABHS).