WHAT ARE OPIOIDS AND WHAT'S THE FUSS ABOUT?
Now that we have more effective medicines to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), you wouldn't think that we'd need strong pain relief as much. But that's not the case. Opiods, effective but dangerous pain meds, have actually been prescribed for as many as 30% of IBD patients (from 2010-2013).
What Are the Opioids?
Opioids are a long list of drugs that are related to heroin. They include
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
- Fentanyl (Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic)
- Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Perthidine (meperidine, Demerol)
They are useful for pain relief during a severe flare or after surgery, but they can be addicting and they have dangerous side effects:
- Increases the chance of developing pneumonia or other infections
- Can mask a flare
- Can cause bowel blockages, constipation
- Can cause sleep disorders
- Babies can become addicted too, if their mothers take the medicine while pregnant
- Tolerance—with patients needing more and more
- Withdrawal can cause severe reactions to the nervous system and bowel
So it is important that you and your doctor have a plan for coming off the medicine even before you start on it.
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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