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Old 02-10-2005, 08:18 AM
norinew norinew is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Wilds of WV
Posts: 10,652
Why do narcotics make you itchy?

I've spent many, many nights and days in the hospital, geting morphine for kidney stone pain. It always makes me itchy. I've asked nurses about this, and they never tell me why, only offer me Benadryl to help with the itching! I've noticed that the narcotic pain relievers (legitimate 'scrips) I have to take at home sometimes do the same thing. They make me itchy. Especially my face, neck and head. I asked my doctor about it, and he didn't tell me why, either. Just told me to take Benadryl if it bothers me.

So, what's this about?
Old 02-10-2005, 09:45 AM
yoyodyne yoyodyne is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 2,944
The exact reason opioids cause itching is unclear. It was believed to be caused by systemic histamine release and so was treated by antihistamines, but further studies have shown that is a secondary effect of the opioid binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Antihistamines may still be partially effective in that morphine does cause some histamine release, and if they put you to sleep you won't itch as much


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