What Medications Are Used to Manage Pain?

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Pain...we have all experienced it at some point in our lives...whether it was the result of an injury, surgery or a chronic condition, pain can dramatically affect our lives...it can prevent us from working, spending time with our loved ones and rob us of our ability to enjoy life...luckily health care providers can help manage pain. There are many different treatment strategies a health care provider can use to manage pain but one of the more effective treatment strategies involves oral medications.

What oral medications are used to manage pain?

Some of the more common oral medications used to manage pain include: ketorolac (Toradol), oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone), codeine, hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and morphine.

How does ketorolac work?

Ketorolac helps individuals manage their pain by acting as an anti-inflammatory.

What is the typical starting dose for ketorolac?

The recommended initial adult dose of ketorolac is 20 mg, followed by 10 mg every 4-6 hours...individuals should NOT exceed 40 mg/day or use ketorolac for more than 5 days.

What are typical ketorolac side effects?

The typical side effects of ketorolac include: abdominal discomfort, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness and drowsiness.

How does oxycodone work?

Oxycodone binds to opiate receptors in the central nervous system (CNS), altering an individual's perception of and response to pain.

What is the typical starting dose for oxycodone?

The recommended initial adult dose of immediate release oxycodone is 5-15 mg every 4-6 hours as needed...the recommended initial adult dose of controlled release oxycodone is 10 mg every 12 hours.

What are typical oxycodone side effects?

The typical side effects of oxycodone include: somnolence, weakness, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, constipation, nausea, vomiting and headaches.

How does codeine work?

Codeine binds to opiate receptors in the CNS, altering an individual's perception of and response to pain.

What is the typical starting dose for codeine?

The recommended initial adult dose of immediate release codeine is 15-60 mg every 4 hours as needed...the maximum total daily dose is 360 mg.

What are typical codeine side effects?

The typical side effects of codeine include: somnolence, sedation, weakness, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, constipation, nausea, vomiting, headaches, abnormal dreams and visual disturbances.

How does hydromorphone work?

Hydromorphone binds to opiate receptors in the CNS, altering an individual's perception of and response to pain.

What is the typical starting dose for hydromorphone?

The recommended initial adult dose of hydromorphone is 2-4 mg every 4-6 hours as needed.

What are typical hydromorphone side effects?

The typical side effects of hydromorphone include: somnolence, sedation, weakness, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, constipation, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, headaches, sexual dysfunction, muscle rigidity and visual disturbances.

How does morphine work?

Morphine binds to opiate receptors in the CNS, altering an individual's perception of and response to pain.

What is the typical starting dose for morphine?

The recommended initial adult dose of immediate release morphine is 10-30 mg every 4 hours as needed.

What are typical morphine side effects?

The typical side effects of morphine include: sedation, weakness, dizziness, confusion, fever, constipation, nausea, vomiting, headaches, urinary retention, chest pain, vertigo and visual disturbances.

About the Author

Marc Macera, PharmD, RPh's picture

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