The Great Opioid Side Effect Lottery

Opioids (‘strong painkillers’) can be really useful for a short time – after an injury or surgery. But longer term they aren’t much help. They only reduce pain for about 10 percent of people in the long term.
This means that 9 out of 10 people get no benefit long term. And they’ll still get the side effects.

Common opioid side effects

Feeling dizzy, sickness


Confused, sleepy


Weight gain

Dry mouth

Increased levels of pain

Sleep problems

Reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction, infertility

Unable to pass urine

Immune system affected

Forget things / memory loss

Euphoria (feeling high)

Mood changes

Emotionally numb

Risk of falls and fractures

If you’re taking opioids, the chances are you’ll be experiencing at least some of the side effects listed above.
Think how many of these affect you. You may decide it’s time to review your medicines with your clinician.