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This one is about: Narcotic Drugs for Pain (Morphine, Codeine)


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Narcotic Drug Use for Pain Control

by Joanne Green

Ok, Here's the scoop on narcotics drugs:

Narcotics drugs are any drug that is a product of opium. So, that would include opium, heroin, morphine, and codeine. There are other pain relievers, but unless they are derived from an opium base, they are considered non-narcotic pain relievers.

Narcotics do a couple of things -- they relieve pain; they suppress the appetite; they can cause vomiting; and they can make you sleep. They are a depressant medication that can - in large enough doses and in dosages given close enough together - depress the nervous system enough to cause breathing and/or heart rate to slow down or stop. That can be scary when you are talking about little bitty bodies. Narcotics will also cause constipation, and they will make it difficult to urinate.

For our kids, morphine is sometimes given to help them to sleep and to relieve pain right after surgery. However, even though the narcotic does what we want it to do, we cannot avoid the side effects. For instance, often times the kids can be very difficult to wake up. On rare occasion, they can actually overdose and stop breathing - even on a very small amount of morphine. It is often hard to get our kids to eat when on morphine as well because the appetite is suppressed. And many times morphine, can cause vomiting. Urine output can be low or non-existent, and you may go a while before you see a poopy diaper.

The same can happen with codeine. We are trying to get our kids to eat, but the codeine is suppressing the appetite, and at the same time, the child is vomiting because of the codeine. They are sleeping a LOT, which is good because it is keeping them quiet, but bad because they are not eating during this time. Urine output is low, which extends their stay in the hospital, and many times the child needs a laxative suppository to have a bowel movement before they can be dismissed.

Non narcotic medicines also have good and bad to them. Almost every drug has some side effect or another - you just weigh your options. What side effects are you willing to risk in exchange for how much pain relief, and how much sleep? For some kids, simply holding them helps them to sleep. Others need to be in their own beds.

I'm not one of those people who try to tough it out without pain meds. If I hurt, I want relief - and I feel the same for my child. However, I do my best to take the smallest amount of meds necessary to get the job done, and often that means no meds at all.

POT (plain old Tylenol) did it for my kids, and I am certainly not one to make them endure pain unnecessarily. Holding them helped them to sleep, so I held them. It was easy enough. None of my kids were exactly big. (Not a moose among them - LOL) But even when Jacob was 9 and had bone graft, I curled up beside him on the bed and held my arms around him.

We want them not to hurt - we want them not to cry. But we also want them to eat and we want them to keep their fluids down. If your child is on morphine or codeine and is experiencing any of the problems - - incredible lethargy, no potty, won't eat, and vomits - - question the meds. That could be your problem.


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