The Opioids are a class of controlled pain-management drugs that contain natural or synthetic chemicals based on morphine, the active component of opium. These narcotics effectively mimic the pain-relieving chemicals that the body produces naturally.
Opioids are the most often prescribed pain-relievers because they are so effective. Moreover, many studies have shown that opioid analgesic drugs are safe and rarely cause clinical addiction or compulsive usage if taken as directed.
Morphine, heroin, codeine and related drugs are among the opioids. Morphine is frequently prescribed to alleviate severe pain after surgery. Codeine can be helpful in soothing somewhat milder pain, as are oxycodone (OxyContin, an oral, controlled-release form of the drug), propoxyphene (Darvon), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and meperidine (Demerol), which is used less often because of its side effects. Diphenoxylate or Lomotil can also relieve severe diarrhea, and codeine can ease severe coughs.
Medication for pain may be taken in a variety of ways. The preferred method is by mouth, since medication taken orally is convenient and usually inexpensive. When this method cannot be used, medication may be taken rectally or through patches placed on the skin. Intravenous methods are used only when easier and cheaper methods are not available. Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps are sometimes used to allow the patient to deliver the drug into veins, skin or the spine. Intraspinal administration is especially helpful for patients who do not respond to pain medications delivered by the other methods or who experience extreme side effects.