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Sickle Cell Disease: Pain Management - Topic Overview

Treating pain

Pain can be treated at home with:

  • Pain management skills. These skills can help you and/or your child focus away from the pain. They can also enhance the effect of pain medicine. A pain specialist can teach you pain management skills. These skills include:
  • Medicine. Use the pain management plan you developed with your doctor to help decide what type of pain medicine to use. You are probably the best judge of when it's necessary to use a stronger prescription medicine.
    • For mild pain, use over-the-counter ibuprofen (such as Advil) and/or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). Children and teens younger than 20 should not be given aspirin, which can cause Reye syndrome. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • For moderate or severe pain, you might take pain medicine prescribed by your doctor. Prescription pain medicine includes oral medicines such as codeine and ibuprofen, or codeine and acetaminophen. Some people might take oral controlled-release morphine at home.

For more information, see the topic Chronic Pain.

How is pain treated in the hospital?

If you go to the hospital, you will be treated with a strong pain medicine. This might be an opioid medicine, such as morphine.

  • The medicine is given directly into a vein (intravenously, or IV) and may be patient-controlled, allowing you to push a button and release a dose when needed.
  • When you feel less pain, IV opioid medicine is gradually reduced and replaced with a less powerful oral medicine. These actions prevent a person's body from going through sudden drug withdrawal symptoms.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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