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What should I avoid doing while on opioid medication for chronic pain?

Travis M. Hendry, MD
Orthopedic Surgery

Take opioid pain medication (strong medications that affect the way your brain handles pain signals) safely for chronic pain by following these tips:

  • Do NOT take more medication than your doctor ordered. Even on days you feel worse, NEVER take a higher dose. NEVER take the medication more often.
  • Do NOT take sleep aids, anti-anxiety medication, or other pain relievers (not even Tylenol) while taking prescription pain medication, without your doctor's permission.
  • NEVER drink alcohol or take illicit, illegal, or recreational drugs while taking the medication.
  • Do NOT drive a car or operate dangerous machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Opioids can slow your reflexes and affect your judgment. If you drive unsafely, opioids can be reason for you to receive a DUI (driving under the influence) charge.
  • Do NOT share your pain medication. Don't give a pill to a friend or family member, even if that person is in pain. Sharing pain medication is illegal. If someone is in severe pain, he or she needs to see a doctor.

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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.