Side Effects

Common Opioid Induced Side Effects:

  1. Nausea
  2. Pruritis
  3. Constipation
  4. Sweating
  5. Exacerbation of sleep apnea
  6. Impotence (men)
  7. Menstrual irregularities
  8. Hyperalgesia (worsening of pain without signs/symptoms of worsening disease)
  9. Rebound headaches (when plasma opioid levels decline)
  10. Impaired cognition/delirium
  11. Drug interactions: particularly drugs that may inhibit opioid metabolism or drugs that have effects similar to opioids (e.g.: benzodiazepines)

Swegle JM, Logemann C: Management of Common Opioid-Induced Adverse Effects. Am Fam Physician 74: 1347-1354, 2006. [PDF]

E-mail PDF

Savage SR, Kirsch K, Passik S: Challenges in using opioids to treat pain in persons with substance use disorders. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice. 2008; 4(2): 4–25.

Maxwell J, McCance-Katz EF: Indicators of methadone and buprenorphine use and abuse: What do we know? Am J Addict, 19:73-88, 2010