When you have a mild headache or muscle ache, an over-the-counter pain reliever is usually enough to make you feel better. But if your pain is more severe, your doctor might recommend something stronger — a prescription opioid. Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication. They can have serious side effects if you don’t use them correctly. If you need to take opioids to control your pain, here are some ways to make sure you’re taking them as safely as possible. Commonly Abused Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs.
How Opioids Work
Opioid drugs work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. They reduce the sending of pain messages to the brain and reduce feelings of pain.
Opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications.
Some types of opioid drugs include:
- codeine (only available in generic form)
- fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
- hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
- hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
- hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
- meperidine (Demerol)
- methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR)
- oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone)
- oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet)
- oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)
- Your doctor can prescribe most of these drugs to take by mouth. Fentanyl is available in a patch. A patch allows the medication to be absorbed through the skin