What are Opioids?
Opioids are a type of chemical that are used for pain relief. These powerful chemicals may be used for acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term use) pain. Commonly prescribed medications include morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol, and fentanyl.
What is the risk of taking an opioid medication?
Common side-effects of opioid use include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Sleepiness and dizziness
Other potential risks of opioids include developing opioid abuse/dependence and/or fatal opioid overdose.(1)
Signs and Symptoms of an opioid overdose include:
- ‘Pinpoint Pupils’
- Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Limp body
- Pale, blue, or cold skin
Do I really need an opioid for pain relief?
If you are worried that opioids may be unsafe to use or may cause adverse side effects, talk to your physician or pharmacist about other alternative options. Many alternative medications for pain management are available, including both non-prescription and prescription. Discussing these options with your provider will ensure the safest approach to your pain management is achieved and will improve the chance of optimizing your treatment goals.
My pharmacist asked me to take an opioid risk survey. What is this for? And Why should I participate?
The opioid risk survey is offered to patients that fill an opioid prescription at a participating ONE Program pharmacy. The survey assists the pharmacist in adequately performing the medication consultation session with you. By completing the survey, the pharmacist can better identify a patient that may have increased risk to unwanted adverse effects from opioids. It allows the pharmacist to relay important safety information to the patient in the goal of reducing harmful outcomes during opioid use.
I’ve been taking this medication for years, why do I need to do this screening?
Great question! As more research is conducted about the use of opioids, medical professionals are continually learning more about negative and positive effects that opioids can cause. As this recent research is continually changing, providers are learning more about the unwanted side effects and long-term effects of opioid use. This extra caution is necessary for your safety and well-being to ensure the best possible medical care is achieved from your clinic and pharmacy.
If you want to learn more about opioids and reduce harmful outcomes from opioid use, please visit the following resources.
Preventing an opioid overdose:
Promoting safer pain management:
What you need to know about prescription opioids:
- Frequently Asked Questions | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Jul 29]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/patients/faq.html