Opioid medications, also known as "narcotics", are powerful medications used to control pain. The earliest of these medications was opium, which has been extracted for more than 5,000 years from the opium poppy. Today, we have many different opioid medications available, including morphine, meperidine (Demerol), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and oral medications such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Percocet).
While opioids are very useful medications for severe pain, they can cause addiction and they have been responsible for thousands of death by overdose during America's current opioid epidemic. They may also be associated with unpleasant side effects including nausea and constipation. If your doctors prescribe opioid medication for pain after surgery, these short videos will help explain how to use these medications safely and dispose of them properly if any are left over.
If you have further questions about the medical treatment of persistent or chronic pain, please visit the website of our UCLA Comprehensive Pain Center.