AudibleRx Short Session: Opioids

We are working on a new project at AudibleRx called "Short Sessions".  We have a two minute audible discussion of what to expect with a specific medication category.  This is one of our prototypes I would like to share with our community.

In this session, we will discuss opioids; warnings, interactions, and side effects.

  • Opioids work in the brain to block how the body recognizes pain.  These include oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and others. 
  • Short-acting opioids are used to relieve sharp or sudden pain like what you might experience after surgery.
  • Long-acting opioids work over several hours and are used only when scheduled pain control is needed and other pain medications are not working.
  • Your doctor may prescribe a short-acting opioid with your long-acting opioid.  This will treat sudden pain that flares up during the day.
  • Tell your doctor if your pain is not getting better. Do not stop taking this medication suddenly. You may feel withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, sweating, and nausea. Your doctor may decrease your dose over time to decrease these symptoms.

  • If opioids are used on a patient not used to taking narcotics, they may stop breathing.
  • Opioids have an increased risk of abuse, addiction, and theft. Store this medication in a safe place.
  • If a child accidentally takes even one tablet, they may stop breathing and die.
  • When pregnant mothers use this medication, the unborn child is at risk. The newborn may need prolonged withdrawal treatment.
  • Combining opioids with anxiety medications, such as diazepam or alprazolam, may cause extreme sleepiness, significant breathing difficulties, and death.

Interactions and Side Effects
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist all of the other medication you take, drug allergies, and other health conditions to determine if opioids are safe for you.
  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you become constipated while using opioids.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any heartbeat changes, hallucinations, seizures, loss of coordination or any other significant side effects.
  • Call emergency 911 if you have difficulty breathing while taking opioids.

To learn more, listen to the Medication Information Session for your specific medication at  Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications.