The narcotic medications, especially the morphine family are commonly used for pain management. They are very useful tools if used appropriately.
However they can harm you if not used carefully. Morphine like medications called opioids have some common side effects. Constipation, nausea, itchiness, drowsiness and cognitive decline, are among the common side effects of all opioids in short term use. Respiratory depression or slowing down, or even in high doses stopping the breathing is the most dangerous side effect. Each year there are numerous patients that lose their lives because of this side effect. We all may think this is overdose and it will never happen to us because we never take too much of our medications. However the problem is the possibility of drug drug interaction or use of alcohol with opioids which can cause the breathing to stop.
In long term use opioids can become less effective. we build tolerance to it. It is because of different mechanisms. One of them is that the hook or receptor on the cells that opioids link with can move into the inside of cells and make the connection less effective, it is called receptor internalization. As a result we may end up using more of opioids to get the same or less effects with more side effects. The irony is that in some cases using this family of pain medications can actually make our pain worse. We may get into this circle of having pain, needing to use more, on and on. In many cases if we stop increasing and slowly bring the dose of opioids down the pain control improves.
The message is: MORPHINE LIKE NARCOTICS CAN BE ONLY HELPFUL IN PAIN MANAGEMENT IF USED PROPERLY AND IF NOT, THEY CAN HARM YOU.