The Reality of Side Effects
Unfortunately, side effects are a possibility with all medications. The fact that side effects exist should not be a reason to for you to refuse pain medication for any pain that you experience with your cancer. The purpose of pain medication is to alleviate the suffering that is caused by your condition. Proper pain management takes the level of suffering that you’re experiencing into consideration and weighs it against the quality of life that you desire. It also takes into consideration the possible side effects and addresses them as they occur. If you’ve ever watched a pain medication commercial on TV, you’ve probably heard the term “various side effects” being mentioned often. This is because the occurrence of side effects does vary from patient to patient. With some patients, there is little to no side effects. With others, an adverse reaction to the drug can take place that causes serious side effects. It depends on how your body responds to the drug.
Various Side Effects Vs. Common Side Effects
In that same commercial, the script will mention common side effects. These are side effects that are experienced by the majority of the patients who take the drug. While not being serious, they do cause enough discomfort to affect your quality of life. It’s important to manage the common side effects, so that you can continue to take the prescribed medication. Changing pain medication will also affect your quality of life because your body will have to again adjust to a new medication. So, what are some of the common side effects of pain medication that is usually prescribed for pain?
Constipation is a common side effect experienced with pain medication, especially opioids. If your doctor prescribes one of these drugs for you, he or she will mention the possibility of constipation occurring. He or she will also suggest some ways to alleviate constipation if it does occur.
To alleviate the constipation, you can take stool softeners. If a stool softener is not enough to stop the constipation, your doctor may suggest a laxative. Laxatives come in over-the-counter form or by prescription, depending on the severity of the constipation. If you are experiencing constant constipation, the doctor may prescribe an injection of methynaltrexone that is specifically designed to treat narcotic induced constipation. There is also a daily pill that is prescribed for this, also.