Some side effects are common when
taking opioids. These include:
- Impaired motor skills
- Problems emptying the bladder (urinary retention)
Opioid medicines can also cause problems with memory, thinking, and judgment,
especially in older adults.
If you have any of these side
effects, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. They can give advice for
managing them. This might include:
Reducing the dose of your
opioid medicine (never do this without talking with your provider)
Trying a different type or
brand of opioid medicine
Adding a medicine to treat
the side effect
In some cases, your provider may
take steps to help prevent side effects that are likely to occur. For instance, to
prevent constipation, your provider may prescribe a laxative or stool softener at
same time you start opioid treatment. They may advise eating more high-fiber foods.
More serious or longer-lasting side
effects can occur when you don’t take opioids exactly as directed. Misusing opioids
lead to liver and brain damage. To prevent these side effects:
Never take more opioids than
prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Never combine opioids with
Never use illegal drugs or
drink alcohol while taking opioids.
Don't take opioids with
benzodiazepines (such as lorazepam or alprazolam). Serious risks are linked with
combining opioids with this type of medicine. These risks include severe
sleepiness, slowed breathing, and death. Let your provider know if you are taking