By Jeremy Fejfar, PharmD
Dr. Fejfar is our Health Plan Clinical Pharmacy Director. Dr. Fejfar earned his doctor of Pharmacy from South Dakota State University. He is a member of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin.
It’s tough to live with chronic pain, but millions of Americans do. That’s one reason why prescription opioid pain medications are so popular.
Opioid medications are good at relieving pain in the short term. They also help people with active cancer and people receiving hospice or palliative care cope with pain. While these medications can be safe when taken as prescribed by a health care provider, opioids come with some serious risks, including the risk of addiction and unintentional overdose and death.
What You Need to Know About Opiods
- Overdosing on opioids can cause extreme sleepiness, difficulty waking up and stopped breathing. If you suspect someone may have overdosed, call 911 immediately.
- A nose spray (Narcan®) can quickly reverse an opioid overdose. You don’t need a prescription in most pharmacies.
- Well-known painkillers, like Vicodin (hydrocodone) and OxyContin (oxycodone), are opioids. So are fentanyl, morphine, codeine and methadone.