Opioids: Safety and side effectsOOpioids: Safety and side effectsOpioids: Safety and side effectsEnglishPain/AnaesthesiaChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)BodyCentral nervous system;Peripheral nervous system;Autonomic nervous systemSymptomsCaregivers Adult (19+)Pain2009-09-21T04:00:00ZMichael Jeavons, MD12.000000000000040.00000000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>Read about the possible issues involved in taking opioids such as addiction, physical dependence, tolerance and overdose.</p><p>Many parents are concerned about their children being prescribed strong opioids such as morphine. Understandably, they worry about addiction and overdose specifically. However, when opioids are taken under supervision for pain relief, addiction and overdose issues are extremely rare.</p><ul><li>Opioids are strong medications, but, when taken for pain relief as instructed and under supervision, addiction and overdose issues are rare.</li> <li>A child who is taking opioid medication is seeking pain relief, not the "high" that is typically sought by someone with a psychological craving for an opioid such as heroin.</li> <li>Physical dependence can occur if a drug is taken for a few weeks. Your child's healthcare team will slowly ease your child off the medication so they do not experience any withdrawal symptoms.</li></ul>

 

 

Opioids: Safety and side effects3000.00000000000Opioids: Safety and side effectsOpioids: Safety and side effectsOEnglishPain/AnaesthesiaChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)BodyCentral nervous system;Peripheral nervous system;Autonomic nervous systemSymptomsCaregivers Adult (19+)Pain2009-09-21T04:00:00ZMichael Jeavons, MD12.000000000000040.00000000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>Read about the possible issues involved in taking opioids such as addiction, physical dependence, tolerance and overdose.</p><p>Many parents are concerned about their children being prescribed strong opioids such as morphine. Understandably, they worry about addiction and overdose specifically. However, when opioids are taken under supervision for pain relief, addiction and overdose issues are extremely rare.</p><ul><li>Opioids are strong medications, but, when taken for pain relief as instructed and under supervision, addiction and overdose issues are rare.</li> <li>A child who is taking opioid medication is seeking pain relief, not the "high" that is typically sought by someone with a psychological craving for an opioid such as heroin.</li> <li>Physical dependence can occur if a drug is taken for a few weeks. Your child's healthcare team will slowly ease your child off the medication so they do not experience any withdrawal symptoms.</li></ul><figure> <img alt="Toddler with hands up" src="https://assets.aboutkidshealth.ca/akhassets/toddler_with_hands_up_BRAND-PHO_EN.jpg" /> </figure> <h3>Addiction</h3> <p>Though opioids may be abused by some people, the experiences of a heroin abuser and a child given opioids for pain are very different. Drug addiction is a psychological craving as well as physical dependence. People who are addicted to opioids such as heroin are psychologically craving the euphoric effects of the drug rather than any pain relieving effects. Addiction requires a specific context: drug addicts are craving a "high" and nothing else. In addition, addicts tend to take large doses and then "crash" off the drugs.</p> <p>When children are given opioids to relieve pain, they are not seeking the "high" associated with the medication. They are given the medication in safe, consistent and controlled amounts, and do not develop a psychological addiction. Generally, children look forward to reducing or stopping the medication as this indicates improvement in their pain control.</p> <h3>Physical dependence</h3> <p>Physical dependence occurs if opioids are taken for several weeks. If they are suddenly stopped, a child may feel an uncomfortable 'withdrawal', characterized by shivering, nausea and abdominal pain. However, this can be easily prevented by easing a child off the medicine gradually as their need for pain relief diminishes. Progressively smaller doses will be administered until the medication is stopped. Physical dependence should not be confused with addiction.</p> <h3>Tolerance</h3> <p>Tolerance occurs when a higher dosage of a drug is required for the same effect. This is common in drug addicts but rare when used for pain.</p> <h3>Overdose</h3> <p>Parents often worry about overdose occuring when their child is prescribed strong opioids. However, these medicines have been used for centuries and health care professionals know how to administer them with a great degree of safety. Overdose is extremely rare in children taking opioids for pain relief. If overdose does occur, it can be treated with an antidote called naloxone.</p> <h3>Myth: Pain-relieving drugs are too dangerous and addictive for children</h3> <p>Fear of addiction or overdose is often cited as a reason not to give opioids such as morphine to children. However, these strong medications are safe when appropriately given for pain relief. Unlike substance abusers, children taking opioids for pain do not develop an addiction or psychological dependence. When a child needs lower levels of pain relief, they will gradual reduce the medication to prevent physical withdrawal. It would be cruel to withhold opioids from children in severe pain on the basis of an unfounded fear of addiction.​​​</p>Opioids: Safety and side effects

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