About pain medication
The term ‘painkiller’ is misleading – it implies that medicine will kill the pain completely. Although they can play a part in managing persistent pain they do not work for everyone, and even if you get some benefit, after 3 months they’re probably not working and addiction becomes a serious issue.
There are three main types of pain medication: paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen, and opioids, that range in strength from codeine through to high dose examples like tramadol and morphine. Each works in a different way. Most people only need to take pain medication for a few days or weeks.About painkillers
“After 3-6 months the body has healed…”Dr Peter Foster, Prescribing Lead , Silverdale Family Practice, Durham
Pain medication can be very effective for the relief of acute or short-term pain. After 3-6 months the body has usually healed or settled as much as it is going to and any pain left needs to be managed in different way.
Ask yourself, have you experiencedSpot the signs
Side effectsAre you experiencing unpleasant side effects or withdrawal symptoms when you miss or reduce your dose?
More than your doseAre you regularly taking the maximum dose or more than the prescribed dose?
AngerDo you feel angry or upset when someone mentions how much medication you’re taking or how often you’re taking it.
Not your medicationHave you been buying it illegally or taking medication that has been prescribed to others?
Clock watchingAre you watching the clock, waiting until you can take your next dose, does the thought of missing one causes anxiety?
Different doctorsDo you visit different doctors or pharmacists to try and get extra medication?
Have you been on pain medication for more than 3 months?
It’s time to book a pain review with a pharmacist or GP at your practice.
“If I missed a dose I’d know straight away…”Stephen
60-year-old Stephen has been suffering from chronic pain for almost 20 years. In 2013 he had no choice but to quit his job as the effects of his pain medication were making it impossible to focus.