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    Oral Narcotic Analgesics

    • Darvocet • Darvocet-N • Endocet • Lorcet • Percocet • Percodan • Vicodin • Vicodin ES
    • Tylox • Tylenol #2/#3/#4

    You have been prescribed an oral narcotic to help relieve your pain. The oral narcotics listed above are a combination of a narcotic pain medicine with either acetaminophen/Tylenol or aspirin. It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions in taking this medication so that your pain will be relieved.

    Listed below are some of the common side effects that may occur when you take this medication and some helpful hints to manage the side effects. Talk to your doctor first if you are having side effects, as they can often be managed without having to stop the medication. If you have any questions that aren’t covered in this information please ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist.

    Nausea

    Taking these medications with food or an antacid may help reduce nausea. Often nausea decreases as your body becomes accustomed to the medication.
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    Constipation

    The narcotic in these medications may cause constipation, so you may need to use a laxative from time to time. If constipation becomes a constant problem, try using a stool softener such as docusate sodium (DSS, Colace) with senna (Senokot), a mild laxative, on a regularly scheduled basis.
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    Sleepiness, Dizziness, Feeling Lightheaded

    The narcotic in these medications may cause you to feel sleepy, dizzy or lightheaded. This may get better as your body adjusts. If you feel lightheaded, stay safe by not driving. Change positions slowly — go from lying down to sitting on the side of the bed, then stand slowly. Sleepiness also may be a sign that you are getting too much medication. Try taking the medication less often, or take less medicine at each dose.
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    Unrelieved pain

    First, be sure to take any pain medicine as soon as you start to feel pain. Do not wait until pain is severe. Pain medicines work best when your pain is mild. It also may help to take routine or scheduled doses to keep pain controlled.

    If your pain is not relieved by the dose prescribed, check with you doctor to see if you can take more or take it more often.

    You also may want to add other methods of decreasing pain such as relaxation exercises, distraction, hot or cold packs, etc.

    Because of the Tylenol in these medications, there is a limit to the total number of tablets you can take in a day. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about the maximum dose recommended for you.

    If you have been taking this medication for a while, you may find that the same dose no longer relieves your pain. You may need the dose increased from time to time to adjust for growing tolerance.
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    Stopping your pain medication

    If you decide to discontinue this medication, consult your doctor or nurse about a schedule for tapering off. If you suddenly stop, your body will have a difficult time adjusting.
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