What Are They?

Potent drugs that suppress activity in the central nervous system and relieve pain. These drugs are available by prescription only. They are usually reserved for moderate and severe pain, especially bone and muscle pain, cancer pain, pain during surgery, or times when other medications haven’t been able to relieve unrelenting pain.

Active Ingredients (Common Brands)

Codeine, hydrocodone, fentanyl (Sublimaze), morphine (Duramorph), methadone (Dolophine), propoxyphene (Darvon), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and meperidie (Demerol)

Common Side Effects
Dizziness, light-headedness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and constipation

Safe Use
Don’t combine narcotics with alcohol or other medicines, such as antihistamines, that slow down the nervous system.

Hidden Benefits
These medications can also reduce anxiety.

Not Recommended For
People with severe asthma or those with fluid in their lungs from congestive heart failure.

Special Hints
Dry mouth is a common side effect. To combat it, try chewing candy or gum, melt ice in your mouth, or use a saliva substitute.