Pain Medication Information

Pain management after surgery is a shared responsibility between you and your doctor. The following information is shared with you to empower you regarding your pain management.


Over the counter medications such as Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen or Aleve are very effective in controlling pain after surgery. These drugs are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS. Take them before pain starts while you are still numb. Follow label directions regarding dosing. Do not use them if you are specifically allergic to these drugs, or to Aspirin. You may, if needed for more severe pain, use Acetaminophen or Tylenol along with the above mentioned NSAIDS. They work in your body in different ways and are safe to take at the same time. Again, follow label directions regarding dosing carefully. Do not use Acetaminophen if you are allergic to it.


Patients that have more involved surgery may require the use of Opioid medications for adequate pain control. Opioids (commonly known as Narcotics) are strictly regulated by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and your prescriptions are reported to the Michigan Automated Prescription Service (MAPS). The DEA and MAPS classify Opioids depending on their abuse potential. The most commonly used Opioid drug for severe pain is Codeine in combination with Acetaminophen (Tylenol #3 or Codeine/APAP). Codeine has slight abuse potential and is classified by the DEA as a Schedule III drug (Heroin and LSD for example are Schedule I). Codeine alone is not very effective but, drug studies have shown that combined with acetaminophen, it is very good for wisdom tooth extractions. Codeine side effects may include nausea and constipation. If this should be a problem, plain Tylenol/Acetaminophen in combination with an NSAID as noted in above, is just as effective as the Tylenol with codeine.

When Tylenol with Codeine is ineffective even if combined with NSAIDS, a Schedule II drug may be prescribed. Examples include Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco), Oxycodone (Tylox, Percocet), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Oxycodone). These are powerful drugs with high addiction potential and as a result, are now strictly regulated by the DEA. Automatic refills are not allowed for these drugs and prescriptions for these drugs may not be phoned in. If you anticipate that you will need more of this drug than was prescribed, you will need to return to the office for a postoperative exam during office hours before another prescription will be written. Our doctors are not available for pain medication refills of Schedule II drugs after hours. No drug will totally eliminate pain. Our goal is for you to be able to tolerate the pain enough to allow adequate rest and recovery from your surgery.