Pain medications affect endorphin production?

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Question from Susie: I've been told that taking codeine or morphine-like products will inhibit the brain from producing endorphins, so I allow the pain to build until I have no choice. Can you tell me if this is the case?
Answers - Neal Slatkin Ouch! It certainly is likely that the taking of pain medications may inhibit the body's own pain relief system. But the presence of pain is itself the clear indication that the body's own pain relief system is not up to the task of relieving the person's pain. Therefore, it is important to take strong pain medications that will provide significant pain relief.

If you wait too long to take medications—in other words, allow your pain to build up—higher doses of medication to relieve the pain are often necessary than if you'd responded in a more timely fashion and taken your medications earlier. It's easier to maintain pain control with lower doses of medications than to achieve pain control that often requires higher doses of medications.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Pain Management: Getting the Relief YOU Need featuerrd Neal Slatkin, M.D., Michelle Rhiner, N.P. and moderator Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. answering your questions about the best ways to deal with the physical pain and discomforts associated with breast cancer and breast cancer treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in January 2004.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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