Sometimes we fall and we get hurt.
Sometimes we have broken bones, a need for a surgical procedure, or are about to experience the extreme pains of childbirth.
And, sometimes, because of this, we need pain medicine.
But how can we take pain medication if we are currently taking psychiatric medication?
That is a great question.
Especially since combining mental health medications with pain pills such as NSAIDs and some prescription pain medications can cause serious complications such as bleeding, hemorrhaging, serotonin syndrome, and psychosis.
Opioids used to relieve pain such as tramadol, pethidine, dextromethorphan, and tapentadol can also pose a serious risk by increasing serotonergic activity and can potentially lead to mania, and serotonin syndrome as well as increase the risk for other health problems.
According to the results of a study conducted by the University of East Anglia and Wake Forest University, when SSRIs, which are one of the most commonly prescribed medications, are combined with painkillers, they can do great harm to the stomach.
The research results, which were published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, found that SSRIs when taken with painkillers increase the risk of stomach bleeding by six times.
Furthermore, the wrong combination of pain medicine and psychiatric medications can cause prolonged reactions and may continue to interact for weeks after they have been discontinued.
So does this mean that we just have to suffer through the pain?
No. But it does mean that pain medication should only be taken under the recommendation and guidance of your doctor and pharmacist.
Some studies have found that for patients taking SSRIs, pain-relieving drugs such as paracetamol may be a safer choice, rather than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. But again, it all comes down to working with your doctor to find what would be safest for you.
It’s also extremely important to be upfront with any medical professional regarding medications you are taking, prior to having surgery of any kind, as even general anesthesia when combined with mental health medications can be dangerous.
There are medications that can treat pain safely in combination with psychiatric medicine, but again, it all comes down to working with your doctor and pharmacist to find the combination that will be the safest and most effective for you.
In our next article, we will take a look at chronic pain and mental health disorders. We will dive deeper into the link between the two, and take a look at some of the medications that can be used to treat both conditions.