Opioid Use Disorder
What are side effects of opioids?
Some short-term effects include:
Some long-term effects include:
What is opioid tolerance?
Long-term use of opioids can lead to tolerance, meaning higher or more frequent doses are needed to feel the same effects.
What is opioid dependence?
Using opioids long-term is a risk as it can lead to physical dependence. Stopping can be difficult because of withdrawal symptoms (e.g. unpleasant physical symptoms).
For many, the concern over withdrawal may be more of a concern than their original pain. This is why it is important to talk to your health-care provider about reducing your Opioid use. It can be done safely and comfortably.
What is opioid use disorder?
Opioid use disorder means that a person who uses opioids may find it hard to control their use. Opioid use disorder is a problematic pattern of repeated opioid use that can significantly affect your function at work, home, or school.
There is a common misconception that opioid use disorder (sometimes called addiction) is a choice and that people can stop using opioids when they want to. Opioid use disorder is a treatable medical condition, not a choice.
Anyone can develop an opioid use disorder, even those who know the risks the best. In episode 2 of an audio series on opioids developed by Health Canada, a physician tells his story of developing an opioid use disorder during treatment of his back pain.
Medical management of opioid use disorder
Management for opioid use disorder combines the use of medication (opioid agonist therapy) with counseling and behavioural therapies.
Opioid agonist therapy may include one of the following: