A Guide to Safe Use of Pain Medicine
Types of Pain Relievers continued...
FDA has recently notified makers of certain opioid drugs that these products will need to have a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) to ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh the risks.
Affected opioid drugs, which include brand name and generic products, are formulated with the active ingredients fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.
FDA has authority to require a REMS under the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007.
Types of non-opioid prescription medications include ibuprofen and diclofenac, which treat mild to moderate pain.
Use as Directed
Pain medications are safe and effective when used as directed. However, misuse of these products can be extremely harmful and even deadly.
Consumers who take pain relief medications must follow their health care professional's instructions carefully. If a measuring tool is provided with your medicine, use it as directed.
Do not change the dose of your pain relief medication without talking to your doctor first.
Also, pain medications should never be shared with anyone else. Only your health care professional can decide if a prescription pain medication is safe for someone.
Here are other key points to remember.
- Taking a higher dose than recommended will not provide more relief and can be dangerous.
- Too much can lead to liver damage and death. Risk for liver damage may be increased in people who drink three or more alcoholic beverages a day while using acetaminophen-containing medicines.
- Be cautious when giving acetaminophen to children. Infant drop medications can be significantly stronger than regular children's medications. Read and follow the directions on the label every time you use a medicine. Be sure that your infant is getting the infants' pain formula and your older child is getting the children's pain formula.
- Too much can cause stomach bleeding. This risk increases in people who are over 60 years of age, are taking prescription blood thinners, are taking steroids, have a history of stomach bleeding or ulcers, and/or have other bleeding problems.
- Use of NSAIDs can also cause kidney damage. This risk may increase in people who are over 60 years of age, are taking a diuretic (a drug that increases the excretion of urine), have high blood pressure, heart disease, or pre-existing kidney disease.
- Use of opioids can lead to drowsiness. Do not drive or use any machinery that may injure you, especially when you first start the medication.
- The dose of an opioid pain medication that is safe for you could be high enough to cause an overdose and death in someone else, especially children.