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How can I minimize the side effects of Kadian?

You can minimize the side effects of Kadian (morphine) extended-release capsules by taking the medication exactly as your doctor prescribes. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than recommended. Your doctor is likely to start you on a low dose of Kadian in order to minimize side effects and gradually increase the amount of medication to find the lowest effective dose.

Do not stop taking Kadian without talking to your doctor first. Stopping the medicine suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms. You should not drink alcohol or take other central nervous system depressants, such as sleep aids or tranquilizers, while you are taking this pain medication, because this can increase the likelihood of serious and potentially fatal side effects. You should swallow the capsules whole or sprinkle their contents on applesauce -- don't chew, crush or dissolve the pellets inside the capsule, because that would release too much of the medicine too quickly, which could cause a fatal overdose.

Dizziness and light-headedness are common when people first start taking Kadian. To avoid this, take your time when getting up from a seated or lying position: First rest your feet on the floor for a few minutes and then stand up. To help reduce constipation, another common side effect, talk to your doctor about taking stool softeners and/or laxatives. Drink plenty of fluids and try to eat foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, bran, fruits and vegetables.

Before you start taking Kadian, give your doctor a complete medical history because certain medical conditions may increase your risk for side effects. To avoid drug interactions, tell your doctor about any prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and herbal products that you take. Do not start any new medicine or supplements while you're on Kadian without talking to your doctor first. Pay attention to how you feel, and let your doctor know of any symptoms that bother you or don't go away. Your doctor may adjust the dose of your medication to help relieve side effects.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.