Chapter 1: Medication types and uses

Potential side effects of opioids

Whenever she needed her pain medication increased, she felt sleepy for a day or two but then she’d adjust to it. Her doctor explained that might happen, and we were glad to know in advance because it happened to her.

Opioids are very safe when used under the supervision of an experienced healthcare professional and adjusted appropriately for the amount of pain.. Click on each phrase to read more about some of the side effects of opioids.

Although slower breathing could be a serious side effect of opioid medications, it is extremely uncommon if doses are adjusted appropriately for the amount of pain, especially after the first two to three days when the body becomes used to opioids. Starting at a low dose and gradually increasing as needed should be done with the supervision of healthcare providers.

Words of wisdom

Opioid medications also have other less common side effects. If you (or the person you are caring for) notice problems that may be related to the medication being taken, it is important to contact the person’s healthcare provider.