When you leave the hospital, you will be given prescriptions for pain relief. Often it is easier to get these made up at the hospital pharmacy so that you don’t have to go out again when you go home. Also, as often the prescriptions will be for “strong” pain relievers, hence the pharmacist may need to ring us to confirm the prescriptions. This can be problematic if we are not near our phones, it is the weekend (as the office is closed) or we are operating. This can sometimes delay you getting your pain relief medication. The best way to avoid this is to get the medication dispensed at the hospital or go to a pharmacy where you are well known.
For most operations you will be given two basic types of pain relief.
- Regular pain relief (usually a combination of paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen). Or sometimes we will also add in a slow release tablet such as Palexia SR. These medications aim to give you a stable baseline of pain relief.
- Breakthrough pain relief often oxycodone or Palexia fast release tablets. These can be added onto of the regular pain relief when you need them. You may need this a few times a day or not at all, every person and operation is different.
It’s important to take the regular pain relief as prescribed as by doing this you can hopefully avoid large swings in pain that require more frequent break through pain relief.
Common side effects from pain medications are drowsiness, constipation and sometimes nausea. By taking the regular paracetamol and anti-inflammatory you can often limit the stronger pain medication and reduce side effects.
Both Palexia and oxycodone are strong pain medications, you should not drive, operate machinery or make any important decisions (such as legal matters) while taking them. They should always be kept out of reach of children and should never be shared with friends or family eg “Uncle Don has a backache so he can have some of the pain killers I had for my operation”.
If you still have strong pain medications left over after you have recovered you can take them to your pharmacist for safe disposal.