Plasters containing the potent opiate fentanyl are now standard on chronic pain. How the patient tolerates and accepts the therapy, however, depends essentially on whether side effects are treated. Nausea, constipation and dizziness are the most common side effects of opioids. Especially patients who are prescribed these drugs for the first time are sometimes sensitive: the body needs a period of adjustment. These side effects are normal and not dangerous, they do not occur in any case. However, many patients are insecure and anxious if they have not been adequately informed by the attending physician before starting therapy.
Nausea, constipation, dizziness
The nausea arises because opioids irritate the vomiting center in the brain, and not because the stomach is strained, as many patients fear. If the active ingredients metoclopramide or domperidone are concomitantly prescribed and taken in time, it will not even cause a nausea. In many cases, the nausea disappears after a hiring phase of two to three weeks.
Reason for the constipation is the effect of opioids on the intestinal musculature, whose activity is reduced. Numerous studies have shown, however, that the Fentanyl patch offers advantages here: The active ingredient is not absorbed as in the case of tablet intake through the gastrointestinal tract. The influence on the intestinal musculature is therefore lower. If constipation persists, a laxative must be prescribed.
dizziness and dizziness Occur because opioids act in the central nervous system. This side effect often disappears after one to two days. If this does not happen or the feeling of dizziness worsens, the doctor will reduce the dose or discontinue the medication.
Benefits of the therapy
Despite these symptoms, which sometimes occur, treatment with opioids in severe chronic pain has many advantages over simple analgesics such as ibuprofen or diclofenac. Liver, kidneys and stomach are not burdened and the effect is much higher. A life with normal everyday activities is so often only possible again. The widespread fear of dependency is unfounded if delayed, ie long-acting, remedies are given.
Tips for dealing
To make pain therapy with opioids as successful and tolerable as possible, those affected can also do a lot themselves: