0917 pain management leaflet_v3:0917 pain management leaflet_v3

What side effects do painkillers have
and what are the risks of taking
painkillers in the long-term?

Although, addiction to codeine and dihydrocodeine
is rare, if it does occur it is a serious problem.
Never take painkillers containing codeine or
Side effects
dihydrocodeine for longer than three days
All medicines can cause unwanted side effects.
without medical advice.
Used in the short-term these are not generally You may find it helpful to read ‘Pain and substance troublesome but if painkillers are used long-term, misuse: improving the patient experience’ published then the extent and severity of side effects can by the British Pain Society which can be downloaded increase. If you have any unwanted side effects from www.britishpainsociety.org
or if you have any concerns, you should seek advice from your doctor, pharmacist or otherhealthcare professional.
How do I know if I am addicted?
Ask yourself:

Paracetamol is a safe drug, except in overdosewhen the liver can become damaged, sometimes • Do you feel that you need to take the codeine/dihydrocodeine products for longerperiods of time than instructed on the pack? High doses or long-term use of NSAIDs may lead toindigestion, bleeding from the gut, kidney • Do you find yourself buying more and more pills? problems, high blood pressure, fluid retention, and • Do you feel the need to take more than the slight increased risk of heart attack and stroke. They may also affect blood clotting and worsen asthma • Do you feel very unwell when you stop taking the in about 10% of asthma sufferers. Aspirin must not medicine but you feel better if you start taking be given to children under 16 years because of a very rare illness called Reye’s syndrome which If you answer “yes” to any of these questions then
you need help in managing your symptoms and it is Prolonged use of painkillers containing codeine or important that you talk to your doctor. If you take dihydrocodeine can lead to constipation, “chronic the medicine according to the instructions on the pack, it is unlikely that you will become addicted to Chronic daily headache
If you are taking painkillers for 15 days or more a month you run the risk of getting daily or near-daily headaches that last, on average, for We all know what pain is. Sometimes we hardly notice it. However, other times it is so more than four hours. These headaches are severe that we ask a doctor or pharmacist for help. Sometimes we take a painkiller often linked to overuse of painkillers. Unless the (analgesic) to lessen the pain until it goes away.
overused painkillers are completely discontinued,the chronic daily headache is likely to continue. Short-term (acute) pain relief
Long-term pain relief
If you suffer from this then you need to see yourdoctor who can help you.
Most of us have had occasional headaches, Long-term pain, sometimes called chronic or muscle or joint pain, or in women, period pain.
persistent pain, is present everyday or comes and Short-term pain does not last long and tells goes. Some people with long-term illnesses need to take painkillers everyday to manage this.
Short-term pain can be treated by painkillers You may find it helpful to read ‘Understanding that can be bought “over the counter” (OTC) and Managing Pain’ published by the British Pain either from a pharmacy or other shop, such This leaflet is available to
download from www.pagb.co.uk
and www.britishpainsociety.org

You do not always need painkillers to
What do the other ingredients do?
relieve pain
Some painkillers contain caffeine as it may improve • When taken at the right dose, OTC painkillers are safe and effective medicines.
• Applying heat to the skin can help some types pain relief. Caffeine, also in coffee and tea, is a • When you have short-term pain it may be best to take the painkiller as recommended on the pack to of pain. Use compresses or products such as stimulant. It increases blood pressure and speeds up stop the pain from building up and becoming intolerable.
sprays, creams, ointments, gels and patches to the heart. There is about 75 mg caffeine in a small • If you need to take painkillers for longer than three days you should see your doctor or pharmacist cup of coffee and about 50 mg in a small cup of • Support from bandages or compression hosiery tea, similar amounts to some OTC painkillers. • If you feel the dose of a prescription medicine isn’t enough, don’t ‘top up’ with painkillers bought over Increasing caffeine intake may increase the the counter - Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Acupuncture or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you need advice.
Doxylamine, a sedating antihistamine, has medication for pain control. Ask a healthcare muscle relaxing properties thought to be professional about these treatments.
Does your pain affect your life?
• Exercise gently as soon as you are able to. WITH OTC MEDICINES
Long-term pain can often affect your quality of life.
Ask yourself what is causing the pain. If you do not Ask yourself:
know, if the pain persists for more than three days, or if you are unwell, always seek medical advice.
• Do you need to take this medicine continuously What kinds of pain can be helped by
Always read the instructions and do not take two products containing the same active ingredient. Codeine OTC medicines?
or dihydrocodeine containing painkillers should only be used for short-term treatment of acute, moderate pain which is not relieved by paracetamol, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, or aspirin alone. Some OTC
painkillers can only be used to treat specific conditions.
• Do you find it difficult to concentrate? • Does the pain make it difficult for you If you answer “yes” to any of these questions
then you need help in managing your symptoms INFORMATION IN THE LEAFLET AND PACK
How do different painkillers work?
and it is important that you talk to your doctor.
Aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen Although it may not always be possible to get rid • It can be dangerous to take more than one painkiller with the same active ingredient. Make sure you know the ingredients of the products that you are taking.
come from a group of drugs called nonsteroidal of pain completely, there is a range of different anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs work by • If you have conditions like asthma, any stomach problems or if you are taking certain medicines, then changing the body’s response to pain and swelling.
some painkillers may not be suitable for you and you should speak to your pharmacist or doctor about They are particularly helpful for acute strains and which painkiller would suit you best. Always read the instructions and information in the leaflet and pack. • Some people may have side-effects when taking medicines. You can help to make sure that ! BEWARE! MEDICINES HAVE
medicines remain as safe as possible by reporting any unwanted side-effects via the internet at Codeine and dihydrocodeine are similar to, but MORE THAN ONE NAME
www.yellowcard.gov.uk or through your pharmacy.
weaker than morphine, and work by blocking painmessages in the brain and spinal cord.
A brand name is the name chosen by a manufacturer (e.g. Panadol®, Nurofen®, Voltarol®, Paracetamol works in a different way to NSAIDs Feminax®). Each drug may have several different and codeine. It is particularly helpful in reducing brand names. The “active ingredient” describes the i UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE TAKING
drug (e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen, diclofenac and • Keeping a pain and medicine diary can ensure that you are using your painkillers most effectively.
naproxen). Always read the instructions and
Because each type of painkiller works in a do not take two products with the same active
different way to relieve pain, there are some • Never take painkillers more frequently than it says on the instructions on pack or in the leaflet. ingredient. Make sure you know the ingredients
products available that contain more than • Always read the names of the ingredients and information on the leaflet and pack. of the products that you are taking. These will be
one type of painkiller. For example aspirin, clearly marked on the pack.
Never take another product sooner than you should.
paracetamol or ibuprofen can be combined Your pharmacist and their assistants can advise you on an appropriate choice of product.

Source: http://www.limetreesurgery.com/website/H82034/files/Pain-Leaflet2.pdf


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