Narcotics are one option for back pain medications that may be used for pain management. Solutions for pain relief provided by KBNI.

Narcotics List

For Lower Back Pain Management

Narcotics, sometimes called opiates, are used to treat chronic, severe pain by inducing numbness in the body.

Narcotics are often combined with other pain medications such as Acetaminophen. Narcotics relieve pain by altering the way your body feels pain and how you perceive pain. Narcotics are often prescribed to patients with severe acute back or leg pain and who have not responded to other medicines. Sometimes they are prescribed for patients who cannot take NSAIDs due to conditions of the heart, kidney or liver.

Narcotics are habit-forming drugs and there is significant potential for addiction and other complications from prolonged use. Consult with your physician about the risks associated with such medications and the best treatment plan for you. Follow directions on the label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take only as directed.

REMINDER: You should always talk to your doctor before beginning a new medication regimen. These suggestions do not to substitute for medical advice. Please consult your physician.

Types of Narcotics

Butorphanol Tartrate

Brand Name(s): Stadol

Relieves: Headache, post-operative pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Butorphanol Tartrate blocks impulses at the spinal cord and brain.

Side Effects

  • Commom: headache, sedation, dizziness, insomnia, nasal irritation, confusion, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, unpleasant taste in mouth
  • Less common: nervousness, unusual dreams, euphoria, floating sensation, trembling

Note: All narcotics can be habit-forming. Do not take this medication for longer than prescribed. Remember to get up from a sitting or lying position slowly to avoid dizziness.

Fentanyl Transdermal

Brand Name(s): Duragesic

Relieves: Severe chronic pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Fentanyl Transdermal blocks impulses at the spinal cord and brain.

Side Effects

  • Common: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness
  • Less common: sweating, skin reaction at patch site, fainting, jerking body movements

Note: Not recommended for postoperative pain. Discontinuing Fentanyl Transdermal abruptly may cause withdrawal symptoms, so lower doses gradually.

Hydromorphone Hydrochloride

Brand Name(s): Dilaudid

Relieves: Severe pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Hydromorphone Hydrochloride blocks impulses at the spinal cord and brain.

Side Effects

  • Common: dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Less common: dry mouth, mood swings, euphoria, nightmares

Note: Due to the risk of physical dependency, take only as directed and consult your physician if pain persists.

Meperidine Hydrochloride

Brand Name(s): Demerol

Relieves: Moderate to severe pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Meperidine hydrochloride blocks impulses at the spinal cord and brain.

Side effects

  • Common: Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, itching
  • Less common: Euphoria, flushing of face

Note: Prolonged use can cause dependence and nerve damage. Do not stop abruptly.

Methadone Hydrochloride

Brand Name(s): Dolophine, Methadose

Relieves: Severe pain

Available over the counter: No

Mechanism of action: The opioid binds with natural opioid receptors throughout the central nervous system, altering perception of and emotional responses to pain.

Side effects

  • Common: dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, itching
  • Less common: sweating, swelling of feet and ankles, flushing of face

Note: Dosage adjustments should be made with caution. Dangerous side-effects have occurred early in treatment.

Morphine

Brand Name(s): Duramorph, MS Contin, Roxanol

Relieves: Severe pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Morphine blocks impulses at the brain and spinal cord.

Side Effects

  • Common: dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, itching
  • Less common: mood swings, euphoria, urinary retention, jerking body movements, hallucinations, sweating

Note: Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication. Dangerous side-effects and even death can occur when alcohol is combined with morphine.

Nalbuphine

Brand Name(s): Nubain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Relieves: Moderate to severe pain

Mechanism of action: Blocks impulses at the brain and spinal cord

Side effects

  • Common: Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, itching
  • Less common: Euphoria, hallucinations

Note: Nalburphine may cause mental or physical dependence.

Oxycodone Hydrochloride

Brand Name(s): Oxycontin

Relieves: Moderate to severe pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Oxycodone blocks impulses at the pinal cord and brain.

Side Effects

  • Common: dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, constipation, itching
  • Less common: foot swelling, sweating, euphoria, urinary retention

Note: Oxycodone should not be taken if you have certain allergies or illnesses. Oxycodone is habit-forming and should never be taken by a person it is not prescribed to.

Oxycodone/Acetaminophen

Brand Name(s): Endocet, Percocet, Roxicet, Tylox

Relieves: Moderate to severe pain

Available over the counter: No

Mechanism of action: Oxycodone acts on the brain and spinal cord. Acetaminophen interferes with prostaglandins, which cause inflammation and increase sensitivity of nerves. May relieve pain better than Oxycodone or Acetaminophen alone.

Side Effects

  • Common: Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness
  • Less common: Allergic reaction, euphoria, depression, loss of appetite, blurred vision, headache, sweating

Note: If medication is not relieving pain, do not increase dose. Consult your doctor. Oxycodone should not be taken if your have certain allergies or illnesses. Oxycodone is habit-forming and should never be taken by a person it is not prescribed to.

Oxycodone/Aspirin

Brand Name(s): Percodan

Relieves: Moderate to severe pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Oxycodone is a narcotic and affects the brain and spinal cord. Aspirin inhibits prostaglandins which cause in inflammation.

Side Effects

  • Common: Lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting
  • Less common: Euphoria, depression, constipation, itching

Note: Oxycodone should not be taken if your have certain allergies or illnesses. Oxycodone is habit-forming and should never be taken by a person it is not prescribed to. Prolonged use may lead to abuse through psychological and physical dependence.

Pentazocine

Brand Name(s): Talwin

Relieves: Moderate to severe pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Pentazocine blocks impulses at the brain.

Side Effects

  • Common: dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Less common: euphoria, hallucinations, nightmares

Note:  Avoid drinking alcohol while using Pentazocine because it may increase some of the side effects. Be cautious of driving or any activity that requires you to be alert while on Pentazocine.

Tramadol Hydrochloride

Brand Name(s): Ultram

Relieves: Moderate to severe pain

Available Over-the-Counter: No

Mechanism of action: Tramadol blocks the transmission of pain signals to the central nervous system. It can be habit-forming with the possibility of physical and psychological dependence.

Side effects

  • Common: dizziness, vertigo, headache, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Less common weakness, lack of energy, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, visual changes, dry mouth, diarrhea, abdominal pain, menopausal symptoms, sweating, muscle spasm, rash

Note: Swallow Tramadol whole. Do not crush, chew or break tablets as it may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Never take Tramadol in larger doses or use for longer than recommended. Consult with your doctor if the medicine is not helping relieve pain. Do not increase your dose if medication is ineffective.

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For more information on Back Pain Medications for Pain Management or for a consultation at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute please call:

281.44.NEURO (281.446.3876)