Pain Medications: an educational toolkit for a better life


Managing chronic pain is an ongoing process and successful strategies will involve multiple different strategies. Medications may be one part of a care plan for chronic pain, but they should never be the only solution. While medications can be a helpful tool for managing pain, they can also carry significant risks. Discuss the risks and benefits of different types of medications with your prescriber to get a full understanding of which medications may be right for you.


Understanding the risks and benefits of medications you may be taking can help you to set realistic expectations for managing your pain. Some important considerations to discuss with your prescriber are:

  • “Is this a medication I take every day, or do I take it as needed?”
  • “Can this medication be taken for a long time (chronically), or is this to take on a short-term basis (acutely)?”
  • “Will this medication affect my ability to drive, work, take care of my children, or any other activity that is essential to my day to day life?”
  • “Can I stop this medication whenever I want, or will I need your help to come off it?”
  • “Are there any significant side effects I should know about?”


The medications video has three sections:

  1. Common pain medications
  2. Opioid pain medications
  3. Medication safety


This handout highlights key points of the video. After you have watched the video, we recommend that you read about the use and risks of common pain medications and opioids on page two of this handout. On page three, read about the common uses and side effects.

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