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Talk to healthcare providers about opioids (pain medicine or painkillers)

Talking to a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist is a good way to protect yourself from the dangers of prescription opioid (pain medicine or painkiller) misuse.

If you are prescribed a medicine, ask a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist:

  • What is this medicine for?
  • Is it an opioid?
  • How much should I take and how often?
  • How long will I be on this medicine?
  • What are the risks and side effects?
  • Does it interact with any of my other medicines?
  • Does it interact with alcohol?

If your healthcare provider prescribes an opioid for pain, ask if there are ways to manage your pain that don’t involve prescription opioids. Some of these options may actually work better and have fewer risks:

  • Trying physical therapy or exercise
  • Taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®), ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), and naproxen (Aleve®)
  • Taking other types of medicine (such as some used for depression or seizures that can also treat pain)
  • Talking to a counselor or therapist about ways to reduce pain or stress