Know The Risks of Taking Opioid Painkillers

Shopify API December 09, 2022 No Comments
The long-term effects of opioids are concerning to doctors and patients alike, and it’s essential to know what to watch for if you’re taking them to treat pain.
opioid painkillers
December 2022. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.
opioid painkillers

Opioid painkillers are some of the most prescribed medications in the United States. They are typically used to treat moderate to severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or an injury. Unfortunately, while they can be very effective at managing pain, there are also some serious risks associated with taking opioids.

This guide explores what you need to know about the risks of opioid painkillers before you start taking them.

What Are Opioid Painkillers?

Opioid painkillers are a type of medication used to manage pain. They work by binding to certain receptors in the brain and spinal cord, reducing the perception of pain. Opioid painkillers include medications such as:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone

Why Do People Take Opioid Painkillers?

Opioid painkillers treat moderate to severe pain that is not relieved by other pain medications. They may be prescribed for invasive surgeries, severe injuries, cancer, arthritis, or to manage pain during labor and delivery.

Unfortunately, non-prescription (recreational) use of opioids, known as the opioid epidemic, is an issue worldwide, and it is very dangerous.

What Are the Risks Associated With Taking Opioid Painkillers?

What Are the Risks Associated With Taking Opioid Painkillers?

There are several risks associated with taking opioid painkillers, even when taken as directed. Here are some of the risks:

1. Addiction

One of the most significant risks associated with taking opioid painkillers is that they can be very addictive. According to a 2022 report, a staggering three million people in the United States and 16 million worldwide suffer from opioid addiction. In addition, if you have a history of substance abuse or addiction, you may be even more likely to become addicted to opioid painkillers.

2. Physical Dependence

Another risk of taking opioid painkillers is that you can develop a dependence on them, which differs from addiction in that it refers to the physical symptoms experienced in your body, not the behavior associated with addiction. When you become dependent on opioids, your body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug and typically needs increasingly larger doses to achieve the same pain-relieving effect. If you suddenly stop taking opioids, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches

3. Respiratory Depression

Another serious risk associated with taking opioid painkillers is respiratory depression, which refers to slowing down your breathing. In severe cases, it can stop your breathing completely. If you have asthma or another lung condition, you may be more susceptible to this side effect.

4. Gastrointestinal Problems

Opioid painkillers can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation and nausea. In some cases, they can also lead to more severe issues, such as intestinal blockages.

5. Overdose

Another serious risk associated with taking opioid painkillers is overdose. These drugs can slow down your breathing and heart rate, and taking too much of them can lead to death. In fact, opioids are one of the leading causes of drug overdoses in the United States.

If you are taking opioid painkillers, it's essential to know exactly how much you should take each day. And in case of accidental overdose, you should also know the signs of overdose so you can contact emergency services immediately. The signs of opioid overdose include:

  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Slowed or undetectable breathing
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds during unconsciousness
  • Lip or fingernail discoloration

If you suspect you have overdosed on opioids or are exhibiting any of these symptoms, call 911 or your local emergency services immediately. And if someone you know is showing these signs, try to wake them up and ask the 911 operator for instructions on performing rescue breathing. In addition, turning the person on their side as you wait for the ambulance can help prevent choking.

 6. Physical Side Effects

In addition to addiction and overdose, several other serious side effects can occur when taking opioid painkillers. These include constipation, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and dizziness. Some people have also reported hallucinations and delusions when taking these drugs. Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any of these side effects.

7. Drug Interactions

Opioid painkillers can interact with other medications, causing various side effects. For example, they can interact with some antidepressants and increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Opioids can also interact with muscle relaxers, anti-seizure medications, and some antibiotics. Always talk to your doctor about every prescription and medicine you currently take before starting an opioid prescription to avoid potential interactions.

What Can You Do About an Opioid Problem?

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, several resources are available to help. The first step is to talk to your doctor. They can help you taper off the drugs and find other ways to manage your pain. There are also several addiction counselors and therapists who specialize in helping people recover from addiction.

Finally, several support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, can provide you with additional support and resources. You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 365 days a year, 24/7.

Are There Alternatives to Opioids?

While opioids can be an effective way to manage pain, they are not the only option. There are a lot of other pain management strategies that can be effective, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Adhesives like the Kailo Pain Patch
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Exercise
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Talk to your doctor about all the options available to you so that you can find the one that is best for you.

Know the Facts Before Taking Any Opioid Painkiller

Yes, opioid painkillers can effectively manage pain, but they have serious risks. As a result, many doctors and patients prefer to avoid them altogether whenever possible, and with good reason. While short-term prescriptions might be necessary following a severe injury or an invasive surgery, such as a knee replacement, they're rarely the safest long-term pain management option.

If you're looking for alternatives to opioids for ongoing pain management, give the Kailo Pain Patch a try! Simply apply it near the site of pain and breathe a sigh of relief. You can wear Kailo all day during any activity, and it’s designed to relieve pain in seconds.

The best part? Kailo doesn’t involve any oral medication! The Kailo Pain Patch is theorized to work by interfering with the body’s electrical system. And a recent clinical study showed that 100% of patients stop prescription medication after using Kailo for pain relief.

Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.


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