Concerns about side effects of narcotics


Nausea and vomiting

Sedation and confusion

Respiratory depression

Concerns about side effects of narcotics

Many people worry about unwanted side effects from narcotic (opioid) treatments for cancer pain. You and your family need to understand these side effects and know that many of them can be relieved. And you should be ready to report any side effects or symptoms to your health care team as soon as they develop.

Effective pain management usually requires adjusting doses and combinations of medications and other treatments to control both the pain and the side effects they cause.

The most common side effects of narcotics include constipation, nausea and vomiting, sedation, and confusion. Respiratory depression (abnormal slowing of breathing) is also a concern for many people.

Finally, a side effect that many people worry about unnecessarily is addiction to narcotic pain relievers.

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