What To Know About Taking Opiates When Sick

Opiate is a term that refers to a class of very addictive drugs that come in the form of prescription painkillers and also illicit street drugs like heroin.

America is facing an epidemic because of opiates and overdoses that result from abusing these drugs, and unfortunately, there are a lot of questions and misconceptions people have about these drugs and their potential effects.

One such question is whether or not taking opiates when sick is okay. This can be somewhat of a complex question to answer, and there are many different things to consider when addressing it.

What To Know About Taking Opiates When Sick
First and foremost when looking at the question of taking opiates when sick is the fact that some opiates are meant to be taken when a person is sick, primarily with a cough. These medicines also have painkilling abilities, and they include codeine, which is used primarily as a cough suppressant. Codeine has been long used in prescription medicines to treat not only coughs but also diarrhea.

So what if you’re prescribed something like codeine, but you’re wondering whether or not it’s okay to take opiates when sick?

It’s best in these situations to always heed the instructions of your physicians, although it’s important also to be aware of the potential risk of abuse that comes with taking drugs like codeine. You should be an informed patient and make sure you ask questions about whether or not this is the only drug you can take, and what the risks are.

Work with your physician to make sure if you are prescribed a medication like codeine that you’re taking it in a way to minimize the potential for abuse. This is important because many heroin addictions begin with someone legitimately taking a prescription opiate.

Before taking opiates when sick, it’s essential to know what their effects can be on your body. Opiates impact the respiratory system, and that’s actually what leads to overdose. People take so much of an opiate that it slows their respiratory system to the point where they stop breathing.

If you’re sick with respiratory systems and you then take opiates in an attempt to feel better, or simply because you’re addicted to them and can’t stop even when sick, you may experience very serious or deadly breathing issues.

If you have issues with your lungs that are the result of being sick and you then take opiates, you may be facing very serious consequences. If you are ill with something involving respiratory symptoms it’s absolutely critical you contact a physician before ever taking any kind of opiate.

Something else to think about when you’re considering taking opiates when sick is the potential for interactions with other drugs. Drugs interact with one another and can create toxicity or dangerous effects. Opioids tend to interact with many other drugs and even supplements.

In this situation, if you were to take opioids, let’s say for pain relief, and then you were to take another medicine to reduce your fever, the side effects could be extremely damaging.

Potential interactions are just one of many reasons why you should always talk to your doctor before taking any medicines, but particularly something as potentially serious as opiates.

Also notable when discussing whether or not to take opiates when sick is the fact that if you regularly take opiates and suddenly stop, you may think you’re experiencing the cold or flu when in reality what’s happening is withdrawal. Opiate withdrawal symptoms can set in just hours after someone takes their last dose. So many of the symptoms of withdrawal from opioids can replicate other kinds of illnesses, and these symptoms include cramping and body aches, nausea, goosebumps, vomiting, sweats, and fever.

If you’re someone who regularly takes opiates and you think you’re sick, it’s advisable to contact your physician because this could mean you’re going through withdrawal. Withdrawing from opiates without medical assistance can be dangerous, uncomfortable and even deadly.

Ultimately answering the question of whether or not taking opiates when sick is okay is a complicated one that requires a medical professional to look at your situation. There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to take opiates while sick, including the potential for fatal respiratory problems as well as drug interactions, but it’s a physician who can make that decision based on your particular situation.

What To Know About Taking Opiates When Sick
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