Pain Medication — Know the Risks Before Filling Your Prescription

Prescription MedicationsIn addition to physical therapy and other minimally invasive treatment options, the use of prescription pain medications is sometimes indicated for relief from chronic pain.

When administered and taken responsibly, pain medication may be a viable method for helping manage pain. But those who are prescribed these medicines must be aware of any possible side effects or complications that may result from taking them.

Two of the most commonly prescribed pain medications are:

  • Analgesics

    Frequently referred to as pain medications, this type of medicine may include both over-the-counter acetaminophen and aspirin, as well the prescription opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl.

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

    Also known as NSAIDs, these drugs include over-the-counter ibuprofen, as well as ketoprofen, naproxen and COX-2 inhibitors that are available by prescription.

What follows are possible complications or known side effects to consider when taking pain medications:


When patients exceed the recommended dosage as indicated by a qualified pain physician, NSAIDS may cause unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • stomach pain
  • increased blood pressure
  • kidney problems
  • ulcers
  • bleeding

In some cases, individuals may experience some of these symptoms even if they don’t exceed their prescribed dosage.


  • The use of NSAIDs is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular issues, including heart attack and stroke.
  • Some NSAIDs may have harmful interactions if taken in conjunction with heart medications.


For patients who take prescription opioids, side effects may include:

  • Dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • cardiovascular issues
  • sexual dysfunction
  • fatigue
  • mental cloudiness
  • mood changes

An added caveat to taking opioids is that certain typical daily activities may be prohibited, such as driving a car or operating workplace machinery.

There is also a risk of experiencing opioid-induced hyperalgesia, which causes a patient’s pain receptors to become more sensitive to certain pain responses, thereby heightening pain sensitivity. As a result, the patient begins to experience pain in new areas of undamaged tissue. This condition may persist even after the patient stops taking the medication, requiring additional treatment.

Finally, there is risk for addiction when taking prescription opioids. For this reason, it is extremely important that patients are made aware of the risks, and watch for common signs of the onset of addiction, such as:

  • Requiring higher dosages to achieve the same level of pain relief
  • Becoming preoccupied with having the drug on hand at all times
  • Running out of the drug before the normal prescription refill date
  • Growing secretive or paranoid
  • Hiding or downplaying drug use
  • Finding alternative ways to get more of the drug when a prescription runs out too soon

If you recognize any of these behaviors in your own daily life when taking opioid medications, consult a qualified pain physician to learn what resources are available to help you prevent or overcome addiction, as well as what alternative methods may be available to relieve your pain.

Is Pain Medication Really Necessary?

Florida Pain Relief CentersThe good news is, there are many alternative treatment methods that can relieve chronic pain without need for pain medications. At Florida Pain Relief Centers, our physicians take great care to prescribe opioids only when needed, and to prescribe them responsibly.

When medications are absolutely necessary, our pain management experts will always provide important information about the potential for addiction and resources to help overcome dependency if needed.

To find out how we can help determine the most effective way to treat your chronic pain, call Florida Pain Relief Centers today at 800.215.0029 to schedule a consultation or click the button below to set up an appointment online at one of our clinic locations.

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