Blog - Opiates - The Blurry Line Between Pain Relief and Addiction

Opiates - The Blurry Line Between Pain Relief and Addiction

Many of the patients who come to see Dr Moloney have been taking opiate medication for a period of time before we see them.  Opiates commonly prescribed for pain in Australia include Endone, Targin to name just a few.  

Opiates are the worst kind of drugs to be taking long term.  They can be effective in the short term but as a long term solution they have more complications than benefits.  

Some side effects can include constipation, sedation, inability to think clearly, and also addiction.  A lot of patients think if the pain medication seems to be not as effective that they should take more.  This is a mistake.  If your pain medication is not controlling your pain then it is time to speak with your doctor about changing your medication.  It is never a good idea to increase the dose without medical supervision.  The more addictive medication a patient takes, the higher the chance of the patient becoming addicted long term and also the higher the chance of them actually overdosing on the medication.  

Opiate medication can help a patient to get through a period of time while they are waiting for surgery to be organised for them.  Once the surgery has been performed and their actual pathology has been dealt with they can stay on pain medication during their recovery time and it is then reasonable for them to wean themselves off their medication with the help of their doctor.  It is not a good idea to just stop taking these sorts of medications if you’ve been taking them long term as it can cause problems with withdrawals.  It is better to do it gradually under the supervision of a medical practitioner.  

If you are concerned about your medications please see the doctor who prescribed them for you.  If you have had surgery and are still taking your pain medication after your recovery period it may be time to see a Pain Management Specialist about other options to help with your pain.

Tara Harris

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