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Discharge Instructions: Taking Narcotic (Opioid) Analgesics

Your doctor prescribed a narcotic (opioid) analgesic (pain reliever) for you. These medications are used to relieve pain caused by a variety of conditions, injuries, or surgeries. When used and taken as directed, these narcotic analgesics are usually not habit-forming.

The name of my narcotic pain reliever is ____________________________________________.

Guidelines for Use

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking, including over-the-counter or herbal medications.

  • Take your medication exactly as directed.

  • Don’t drive a car while you are taking a narcotic pain reliever.

  • Don’t drink alcohol while taking a narcotic pain reliever. 

Possible Side Effects

If you have any of these side effects, tell your doctor. But don’t stop taking the medication until your doctor tells you to. Mild side effects include the following:

  • Headache

  • Loss of appetite

  • Restlessness or nervousness

  • Nightmares

  • Unusual dreams

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Weakness or tiredness

  • Mental sluggishness

  • Stomach pain or cramps

  • Blurred or double vision or other vision problems

  • Constipation

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Cold, clammy skin

  • Pale or bluish skin color

  • Very small pupils

  • Serious trouble breathing

  • Very slow breathing

  • Severe weakness

  • Confusion

  • Severe dizziness

  • Severe drowsiness

  • Slow heartbeat or pulse

  • Severe nervousness or restlessness




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