Narcotic pain relievers for acute neck pain

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
acetaminophen and hydrocodone Vicodin, Lortab
acetaminophen and oxycodone Percocet
aspirin and oxycodone Percodan
codeine  
morphine Kadian, MS Contin
oxycodone OxyContin, Percolone

How It Works

Narcotic medications relieve pain by altering the way you feel pain.

Why It Is Used

Narcotics are recommended only for short-term treatment of severe, sudden (acute) neck pain.

Because these medicines are potentially addictive, they are usually prescribed for a limited time (1 to 2 weeks).

How Well It Works

Using narcotic medications to treat neck pain is not well studied.1

When a narcotic does relieve pain, it becomes less effective over time. The body becomes more tolerant of narcotic medication, and then a normal narcotic dosage provides less effective pain relief.

Side Effects

Side effects include:

  • Drug addiction/dependence.
  • Confusion.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Constipation.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Narcotics are not intended for use “until all the pain goes away.” They are intended to be used only for a few days at the most. Your doctor will probably only prescribe enough to get you through the most severe pain.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Binder A (2006). Neck pain, search date May 2006. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence. Also available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Last Updated: August 21, 2008

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA, MPH

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics

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