Open Accessibility Menu

Opioid Medication Facts

An opioid is a strong prescription pain medication often prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain following a surgery or from a serious injury. If you are prescribed opioid medication for pain, it is important to understand how to safely use an opioid and to understand the risks of opioid overuse.

You are the most important part of your healthcare team – ask questions and know the facts before using opioids for pain.

Common names of opioids:

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Lortab)
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin)
  • Morphine (MS Contin)
  • Codeine (Tylenol #3, Tylenol #4)
  • Fentanyl
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)

Using Opioids Safely

  • Ask your surgeon or pharmacist if it is okay to use over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).
  • Use your opioids if you still have severe pain that is not controlled with the over-the-counter medications or other non-opioid prescriptions.
  • Let your doctor know if you are currently taking any benzodiazepines (i.e. Valium, Xanax).
  • Do not mix opioids with alcohol or other medications that can cause drowsiness.
  • As your pain gets better, wait longer between taking opioids.
  • Only use your opioids for your surgical pain. Do not use your pills for other reasons.
  • Your opioids are only for you. Do not share your pills with others.
  • Diversion (sharing or selling) of opioids is considered a felony.
  • Please discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant and considering opioid use.

Know The Facts About Opioid Addiction

You are at higher risk of developing a dependence or an addiction to opioids if you:

  • Have a history of depression or anxiety
  • Have a history of using or abusing alcohol, tobacco or drugs (including prescription or street drugs)
  • Have a history of long term (chronic) pain
  • Take opioids for longer than a week
  • Take more pills and more often than your doctor prescribed

Click here for more information about how to properly store and dispose of your unused opioid medication.