Narcotic Pain Medications

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:

  • Addiction
  • 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.