We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Opioid Therapy?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Opioid therapy is the process of using opioid medications for treating pain. Oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and hydrocodone are all considered opioid pain medicines. These prescription drugs can be used to treat pain stemming from potentially life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. Opioid medications have addictive properties, so a primary care doctor or a specialist often will send a patient to a specially trained pain management anesthesiologist for opioid therapy. Pain management clinics work closely with patients to monitor the amount of pills they take so their pain is treated properly and there is a lower chance of addiction or drug abuse.

A pain management specialist works with each patient to come up with an opioid therapy plan. A person's specific medical condition, pain level and list of other medications he is taking can affect the opioid therapy plan. Some patients may be given opioid medications to use routinely, several times a day. Other patients may be prescribed a non-opioid medication, such as an antidepressant or anticonvulsant, to manage pain daily and a lower amount of opioid pills to take only for extreme pain flares.

Patients should be aware of potential side effects when beginning opioid therapy. Typical side effects of opioids include dizziness, fatigue, constipation and sweating. Some patients may only experience these side effects during their first few days on opioid medications. Constipation is one side effect that can be a long-term issue for pain patients, so a person who uses opioid medications and experiences chronic constipation should speak to his doctor about a high-fiber diet or the use of laxatives. If a person experiences less common but more serious side effect of opioids, such as breathing issues, a seizure or hives, then he should seek emergency medical attention.

Patients may have to sign a pain contract when they first sign up for opioid therapy. When a patient signs this type of contract, he typically is agreeing that he will not accept opioid pain medicine from any other pain management clinic. These contracts help people in true pain get the medications they need while helping stop abuse of the system by those who intend to misuse opioid medications. Contracts also may include clauses that make patients promise never to sell or share their opioid pills with another person.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.