Why Painkillers Are So Heavily Regulated

painkillersPainkillers and other drugs are heavily regulated in all parts of the world, usually requiring a valid prescription to obtain even a small dose. Potent in their strength and long-lasting effects, painkillers such as codeine and morphine, are often only administered in cases of severe pain. Even if you experience severe pain, your doctor may choose to withhold prescription pain pills until other options have been tried. There are more reasons than just their strength that forces the government and the medical community to regulate usage.


The biggest reason that there are specific restrictions to painkillers is the ability to become dependent and addicted to them. Usually, strong painkillers are only prescribed for a certain length of time, and never for mild pain. Even if the patient follows the prescription’s instructions perfectly, the individual may build up a tolerance, which leads to taking more than the prescribed dosage. Over a prolonged period of time, addiction soon sets in. It is this transition that makes doctors wary of prescribing painkillers for an extended length of time.


With the strength of opioids, you will usually see on the bottle that you are not supposed to drive a car or perform other actions, due to their sedation properties. An opioid cuts off the signals of pain to the brain, but it also makes you very tired and sleepy. With these effects, you are more prone to injury and accidents, which makes the government limit their use to specific medical reasons. 


Since opioids can be used to treat diarrhea, they also have the potential to make you constipated. Constipation is the leading side effect of using any narcotic painkiller, making it almost essential to buy stool softeners while you take it. Prolonged use with this side effect can damage parts of your digestive system, or it can cause additional medical problems brought on by constipation. 

Other Options

Even if you can’t use painkillers for your discomfort, you can take advantage of a variety of other options with little to no side effects. If you are taking the prescription for acute or chronic pain, you may benefit from massage or physical therapy to loosen the affected muscles. If you just want to relieve your headache, it may be as simple as drinking water to beat dehydration. No matter what type of pain you experience, you do not have to rely on painkillers to have the relief you deserve.