The Ten Most Addictive Pain Killers

The New Generation of Addictive Medications

One of the most common reasons Americans visit their doctors is because of pain. From back pain to migraines to chronic pain syndromes, there are many different types of pain and some can be debilitating.

In addition, there are a number of different drugs that can ease pain. Many of these fall into the opiod category, also known as narcotic pain relievers, including morphine and codeine as well as many synthetic modifications of these drugs. 

However, when it comes to pain relief medications, be wary: The treatment may be more dangerous than the disease itself. While people are less likely to become addicted to pain-relieving drugs when they take them as prescribed for their intended purpose--to relieve pain--many of these medications also produce a "high" that can become addicting to some patients. For this reason, narcotic abuse has become one of the most prevalent forms of drug abuse in the United States.

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Abuse

There are certain signs that therapeutic use of opioids has crossed into the territory of addiction. These include:

  • Knowing use of the medication in amounts or at times not consistent with your doctor's prescription
  • Using the medication to get high or relieve anxiety rather than to relieve pain
  • Requiring higher doses of the medication in order to feel the same effects you used to notice at lower dosages.
  • Exhibiting compulsive behaviors to get the drug and continuing to use it in the face of negative consequences

Read more about the symptoms of addiction.

Most Addictive Painkillers

This is a list of ten of the most addictive pain killers on the market today. They are all synthetic or semi-synthetic opiates. Most are usually prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain. Please note, this is not a complete list, and many more addictive pain killers and other prescription medications are on the market. If you want to know about whether a medication is addictive, talk to your physician or pharmacist.

1
Fentanyl

Man looking at tablets
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More potent than morphine, Fentanyl is used most often to treat patients with severe pain, or post-surgical pain as well as those who have become physically tolerant of opiates.

Available as a lozenge, injectable solution, or skin patch.

2
Stadol

Available as a nasal spray or injectable solution, Stadol belongs to a class of medications known as opioid agonist-antagonists. It works by altering the way your body senses pain.

3
OxyContin

OxyContin is used as an around-the-clock treatment for patients with moderate to severe pain expected to last for an extended period of time. It is available as a tablet.

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4
Demerol

Used to help put people to sleep before a surgical procedure as well as treat moderate-to-severe pain, such as that experienced after childbirth, Demerol is available as an oral solution, injectable solution and oral tablet.

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5
Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain resulting from a chronic condition, injury, or surgical procedure. It is available as an oral syrup and oral tablet.

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6
MS Contin

Used to help treat severe ongoing pain such as that related to cancer or cancer treatment, MS Contin is available as injectable solution, capsule, tablet, and suppository.

7
Percocet

Percocet contains a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone and is available as capsule, tablet, and oral solution.

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8
Lorcet

A combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, Lorcet is used to relieve moderate-to-severe pain and is available as a tablet, capsule, and oral solution.

9
Dilaudid

Mostly used in a hospital setting and administered through an IV, Dilaudid is also available as an oral solution, tablet, and suppository.

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10
Zydone

A mixture of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, Zydone is available as an oral solution, capsule, and tablet.

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