Skip to content

Pain Management Health Center

Font Size

Safe Use of Long-Acting Opiates - Topic Overview

Long-acting opiate pain relievers are medicines used to relieve moderate to severe long-term pain. They are also called extended-release opiates. Opiates relieve pain by changing the way your body feels pain. They don't cure a health problem, but they help you manage the pain.

If you take a lot of short-acting medicine, your doctor may give you long-acting opiates. Long-acting opiates help you avoid the ups and downs in pain relief that you may have with short-acting medicine.

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Follow Sleep Routine

Bedtime should be a calm time. Keep your surroundings quiet and restful. Reserve your bed for sleeping, and keep the room dark, quiet, cool, and distraction-free. Keep regular sleep hours. Ban your computer and TV from the bedroom. Conditions: Migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain Symptoms: Fatigue,anxiety, depression, stiffness, unrefreshing sleep, difficulty sleeping, weakness, numbness, tenderness, muscle pain, joint pain ...

Read the Follow Sleep Routine article > >

Opiates are powerful medicines. When taken on schedule and as your doctor prescribes, they work well and are safe. But misuse can cause overdose, dependency, addiction, or death.

Examples of long-acting opiates

  • Fentanyl patch (Duragesic)
  • Methadone (Dolophine)
  • Morphine ER (Avinza)
  • Oxycodone controlled-release (OxyContin)

Safety tips when using long-acting opiates

To avoid taking too much (overdose) of these medicines:

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Do not take extra doses. Even one extra dose can be dangerous. Taking too much of these medicines can cause death.
  • Be sure to contact your doctor if you miss a dose of your medicine and aren't sure what to do. Do not double your dose.
  • Do not break, crush, or chew a pill. Do not cut or tear a patch.

To use long-acting opiates safely:

  • Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take illegal drugs.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery until you can think clearly. Opiates may affect your judgment and decision making. Talk with your doctor about when it is safe to drive.
  • Keep your medicine in a safe and secure place away from children and pets.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you use any other medicines, including over-the-counter medicines.
    • Make sure your doctor knows all of the medicines, vitamins, herbal products, and supplements you take.
    • Taking opiates with other medicines that make you sleepy or relaxed (sedatives) can be dangerous.
  • Talk to your doctor about a naloxone rescue kit. A kit can help you, and even save your life, if you take too much of an opiate.
    1|2
    Next Article:

    Safe Use of Long-Acting Opiates Topics

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
     
    illustration of nerves in hand
    Slideshow
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
     
    Woman opening window
    Slideshow
    Man holding handful of pills
    Video
     
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Slideshow
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    Slideshow
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
    man with a migraine
    Slideshow