The two most serious risks with an opioid prescription are overdose and addiction. Prescription opioids can also have a number of long-term side effects, even when taken as directed. These include tolerance (needing to take more of a medication for the same pain relief) and physical dependence (having symptoms of withdrawal when the medication is stopped). Other side effects may include increased sensitivity to pain, constipation, nausea, sleepiness, confusion, and depression.
You can start a discussion with your doctor with these kinds of questions:
- How will I know if I am building a tolerance to or dependence on this prescription?
- What should I do if I think I am having a side effect?
- How often should I check in with you about this prescription?
- Will I have any withdrawal issues when this prescription runs out?