Narcotic Analgesics

What are Narcotic Analgesics?

Narcotic or opioid analgesics are pain relievers. They are usually combined with either acetaminophen or aspirin to provide more effective pain relief. Some common brand names are: Percocet®, Darvon®, oxycodone, oxycontin, Tylenol® with codeine, Tylox®, and Lortab®. These medicines are generally used for a short period of time for control of acute pain.

How do I take it?

The dose for these medicines is different for each person. This drug is used for both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The number of capsules or tablets that you take depends on the strength of the medicine and on the amount of pain you are having. Your doctor will tell you how many pills to take and how often. Follow your doctor’s directions. For the best results, take these pills at the same time every day. Do not take more or less medicine than ordered.

How do I take it?

Do not drink alcoholic beverages, and check with your doctor before taking any other medicines while you are using this medicine. This medicine can be habit forming if not taken correctly. This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, or lightheaded. Make sure you know how this medicine will affect you before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous. Nausea or vomiting may occur, especially after the first couple of doses. This effect may go away if you lie down for a while. These medicines can also cause dry mouth and/or constipation. A stool softener such as colace or pericolace, can be added if necessary. Your water intake should be increased. Hard candy can help ease the symptoms of dry mouth.

What about other medications?

When you are taking narcotics, it is very important that your doctors know if you are taking any other medicine. This includes prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as vitamins and herbal supplements.

Narcotics can be taken with other medications, however it is best to have your doctor’s advice before adding another drug to your daily routine. Some combinations of drugs can be dangerous or ineffective.

Updated: April 25, 2012

Victoria Ruffing, RN

About Victoria Ruffing, RN

Ms. Ruffing has been a member of the Arthritis Center since 2000, currently serving as the Nurse Manager. She is a critical member of our patient care team.