In severe cases of pain, narcotics may be prescribed. These are strong and potentially addictive drugs. They should be given only by a doctor.
Commonly prescribed narcotic pain medications include:
- Codeine (Tylenol #3®)
- Propoxyphene (Darvocet®)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
- Oxycodone (Percocet®, OxyContin®)
Narcotics are effective in treating pain for a short time - up to two weeks. After that, the body quickly builds up a natural tolerance to the drug. The drug becomes less effective.
Narcotics have several major side effects and potential risks, including:
- Drug interaction with acetaminophen
- Impairment of mental function and drowsiness
- Significant constipation
It is important for your doctor to monitor you while taking these drugs. Be sure to report any unusual symptoms to your doctor right away.