What are the most commonly prescribed opioids

Opiates and opioids

1. The most important things in a nutshell

Opioids are highly effective pain relievers that are used, for example, for severe injuries or tumor pain. They can be taken as tablets, drops, or injected. There are also nasal sprays and plasters that contain opioids.

Opioids must be dosed and discontinued exactly according to the doctor's instructions. Long-term use can lead to physical dependence. Other side effects are possible, e.g. constipation, respiratory depression, vomiting.

2. Definitions and classification

opiate are substances from the milky sap of the opium poppy, especially morphine and codeine.

Opioids summarize all substances with a morphine-like effect, including opiates.

Opioids are found in weakly effective (e.g. Tramadol, Tilidin) and in highly effective (e.g. morphine, oxycodone). This classification is particularly important for pain therapy according to the WHO level scheme.

Opioids have a particularly pain-relieving effect, but are also used in other medical areas, e.g. to induce anesthesia in anesthesia. By placing themselves on the so-called opioid receptors at the pain control points, they inhibit the transmission of pain to the brain and spinal cord.

3. Instructions for handling opioids

3.1. Regular intake

Retard preparations must after a fixed schedule be taken to achieve an even effect. Retard preparations are drugs that slowly release their active ingredient over a longer period of time. Pain patches, e.g. fentanyl patches, usually have to be changed every 3 days at the same time.

3.2. Side effects

Common side effects of opioids are constipation, respiratory depression, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting.

Prolonged use of opioids can lead to a physical addiction come. However, the risk of addiction developing when used correctly under medical supervision is very low.

Appropriate laxative preparations and a change in diet can counteract constipation. For more information, see Diet with Opioid Use.

3.3. Effects on sexuality and the desire to have children

Taking opioids in the pregnancy can lead to withdrawal symptoms in the newborn child. Therefore, any use of opioids, including over-the-counter pain relievers, should be discussed with your doctor beforehand if you are planning to have children or are pregnant. The pharmacovigilance and advice center for embryonic toxicology, which provides independent information about the tolerance of drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding, also offers helpful information at www.embryotox.de> Diseases> Search term: "Pain Therapy".

Opioids can also do that sexual desires reduce. In the event of problems, those affected can contact their treating doctor or a Pro Familia counseling center (www.profamilia.de).

3.4. Withdrawal from opioids

In order to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as sweating or nausea, the medication must not be stopped suddenly, but must gradually reduced become.

4. Abuse and addiction

The dangers of opioids also include drug abuse and addiction. Opioids have different addiction potentials and every patient is different. For this reason, it is important that the attending physician explains exactly the risks of the drug and also clarifies the patient's potential for abuse (e.g. previous drug abuse). However, after extensive advice and when used correctly, the risk of addiction is very low. In addition, opioids are often the only effective therapy for severe pain.

In order to prevent abuse, the prescription of appropriate "narcotics" is only possible on special prescriptions, for more information see Narcotics and Narcotics Prescriptions.

5. Practical tip

In order to be able to prove the medical necessity of taking opioids, e.g. at traffic controls or to other doctors, a so-called opioid ID should be carried with you. In this document the medication, the dosage and the dates of use are noted.

6. Related links

WHO level scheme

Opioid ID card


Diet with opioid use

Driving while taking medication

Chronic Pain> Travel

Medical cannabis