What Are Pain Pills?
Pain pills are medicine used to relieve pain. Certain pain medications help with milder types of pain such as headaches, menstrual cramps and sore muscles. These include acetaminophen and ibuprofen. There are other pain medications that contain opioids, a family of drugs that have powerful effects. They can be very effective and can improve quality of life for people with severe pain. However, they can also be misused.
There are two types of opioid medications:
- Over-the-counter opioid medications, which include medicines such as 222s and Tylenol 1s that contain small amounts of codeine as well as other ingredients. These don’t need a prescription, but they may not be any more effective than ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Opioid medications that must be prescribed by a doctor, which include: codeine, oxycodone (Percocet), hydro-morphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), morphine (MS Con-tin), and fentanyl.
What are the short-term effects?
When opioids are taken to produce a high, there is an initial “rush” or surge of pleasure. Then the person may experience other effects, including:
- Drowsiness, relaxation and a warm feeling
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slow breathing
- Nausea, vomiting, and constipation
- Pinpoint pupils
What happens when you quit?
When a person is addicted to opioids, they are likely physically dependent. If you suddenly stop using the drug, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. During withdrawal, a person has a strong craving for the drug.
Other withdrawal symptoms include:
- Uneasiness and anxiety
- Poor sleep
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps
- Aches, pains, runny nose and watery eyes
The effects of some opioids, such as Percocet, last only a short time. With these opioids, withdrawal begins within 6 to 12 hours and can be intense. With longer-acting opioids, such as methadone, withdrawal comes on more gradually, within 1 to 3 days. Symptoms of withdrawal usually lessen after a week, although some—such as anxiety, sleep problems and drug craving—may continue for a longer period. Unlike alcohol withdrawal, opioid withdrawal is rarely life-threatening, but can be very uncomfortable.