Understanding Pain Medications: How to Take Them Safely

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

Prescription use of powerful opioid medications are at an all-time high. With that, abuse and overdoses have reached epidemic levels. It’s important for all patients who are prescribed pain medications to fully understand the medication they are taking. Prescription pain medication can be very helpful, but only when used properly!

If you are dealing with chronic pain, schedule an appointment with a pain specialist, at our ISPM Clinic, with locations throughout Utah.

What to Know

Understanding the facts about prescribed pain medication is the first step in taking them safely. Below are a few points you should understand from your doctor before taking any type of pain medication:

• Drug name

• Dosage

• Frequency

• Why you’ve been prescribed

• Specific risks to taking medication

If you’ve suffered with addiction in the past, it’s best to tell your doctor upfront. Your Pain doctor at ISPM should know your complete medical history before a prescription is written.

Common Types of Pain Medication

Morphine: Often used after surgical procedures to eliminate severe pain.

Codeine: This pain reliever is used to treat mild to moderate pain and sometimes used as a cough suppressant. Codeine is considered a schedule III drug, indicating that it has potential for physical and psychological dependency and abuse.

Oxycodone: This controlled substance is prescribed for moderate to severe pain. It acts on the central nervous system to provide pain relief.

Hydrocodone: Often prescribed for treatment of chronic or acute pain. This schedule II drug can be habit forming, especially with prolonged use.

Suboxone: Mostly used for pain involving surgeries. While Suboxone is considered a “partial opioid,” it still requires supervision by a trained medical professional. Contact our Suboxone doctors at ISPM to learn more.

Understanding Dosage & Side Effects of Pain Medication

Pain medications are only safe and effective when used as directed. Any kind of misuse can be extremely harmful and can even cause death.

Patients who are prescribed medication should follow their medical professional’s advice (Contact the Suboxone doctors at ISPM at all Utah locations). Never change the dosage of your medication without talking with your doctor first.

Everyone reacts to pain and medications differently. Below are a few common side-effects of prescription pain medication:

• Nausea

• Itching

• Constipation

• Drowsiness

• Confusion

If you experience any negative side-effects, get in touch with your pain doctor immediately.

Storage and Disposal

Proper pain medication storage and disposal is critical in preventing unintentional exposure to the family members in your household. Even low dosage consumption of certain pain medicine can harm others—especially young children. Also, highly addictive medications, such as opioids, are frequently misused and susceptible to theft. It’s important to keep all pharmaceuticals in their original packaging and store them in a locked cabinet. Even if you don’t live with other people, you can never be too safe when dealing with medical misuse.

If any pills are leftover after you’ve been told to cease treatment, throw them away. Disposal instructions will vary depending on the medication, so be sure to check the packaging or ask your doctor. It’s also smart to remove any personal information on the empty medicine packaging—to protect your identity— before throwing it away.

Pain Management Utah

Find the right pain management doctors at ISPM to treat your condition—don’t let your pain linger. Ask questions and understand your medications so you can stay safe. We have convenient locations throughout Utah at Bountiful, Ogden, Murray and Providence.

Get in touch with us by calling 801-262-7246

Disclaimer: You should always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider before beginning any exercise program. The information contained in this article does not constitute medical advice, nor does reading or accessing this information create a patient-provider relationship. Comments that you post will be shared with all visitors to this page. All comments are not governed by HIPAA and you should not post any private health information.


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As Your Utah Pain Management Clinics?


Our pain management clinics accept insurance. Call us and we’ll assist you in navigating your benefits

before care begins.

We also accept self-pay patients.


Our treatment plans are specifically designed for each individual to reduce pain, improve function, and maximize quality of life. For patients, our approach is multidisciplinary. 


You’re in good hands with our renowned pain doctors, Dr. Garg, Dr. Nelson and Dr. Minori. All have Advanced Fellowship Training, and are Double Board Certified in pain management.

Murray : 801-262-7246

Ogden : 801-810-7246

Logan : 435-932-6125

Bountiful : 801-299-6824

Draper : 801-262-7246

Evanston : 435-932-6125

Pleasant Grove: 801-262-7246

Dr. Vikas Garg, MD

Dr. Alex Nelson, MD