Opioids are drugs having natural or synthetic opiates that impact the nervous system to relieve pain. Excessive use of opioids can lead to addiction, physical dependence, and devastating symptoms. There are different types of opioids and heroin is just one of them. Opioids include various pain relievers such as Oxycodone, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, and many others. 

How Opioids Work

Opioids work in a very different manner as compared to other types of medicines. These attach to the receptors in the brain and send signals to block pain and slow down breathing. As a result, the patient feels a lot of relief from pain. These are ideal for patients with acute pain, however, doctors also prescribe them for chronic pain. The best thing about opioids is that they have a calming and anti-depressant effect. Patients with mental disorders are also prescribed opioids so that they can stay away from negative sensations.

Side Effects of Opioids

There are many different benefits of opioids such as they do not cause bleeding in the stomach or other parts of the body and are proven to be effective against severe pain. There is also very minimal risk that the person may become addicted to opioids if they are used in a small amount for a very short period of time. However, there are some side effects of opioids that cannot be neglected. Some of them are:

  • Nausea – The patient on opioids may feel nausea at all times. This can also lead to vomiting and cause dehydration.
  • Constipation – There is a fair chance of constipation as many people are not able to withstand the effect of opioids.
  • Breathing Problems – As mentioned earlier, opioids attach to the receptors of the brain and send signals to slow down the breathing. This can lead to breathing problems and the doctors may have to put the patient on artificial oxygen.
  • Itching – When the effect of opioids starts breaking, the person may start feeling irritation and itching all over the body.
  • Addiction – Addiction is also a side effect of opioids, although the ratio is very less. The reason of addiction is mostly negligence when people use more amount of opioids without consulting a doctor.
  • Death – Overdose of opioids can lead to dependence and sometimes death. The person may get used to opioids and may try to consume a big amount of opioids that can lead to devastating results.

How to Reverse the Effects of Opioids

The effect of opioids can be easily reversed by using a drug naloxone. This medicine reverses the effect of opioids and it is being used all over the world to cure addiction and bring people back to normal. Other medicines for the same purpose include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.