Pain medications are commonly prescribed due to their effectiveness at relieving pain, and most of them come with various warnings about how to take them properly to ensure that side effects are minimal. We know that a lot of substances can negatively interact with pain medications, with some, such as alcohol, making many of them downright dangerous. But, what about vaping products?
A lot of us maintain daily vaping routines, enjoying the flow of nicotine that we get to enjoy throughout the day. But, if you’re taking a pain medication, should you think twice before taking in a hit of nicotine? Let’s find out.
There are Many Different Types of Pain Medications
Before we get into the potential for an interaction, we need to make it clear that there are a lot of different kinds of pain medications out there. On the lower-risk end are over-the-counter drugs that do not require a prescription, like your typical Ibuprofen which is an NSAID used to reduce inflammation. When you get into heavier prescription drugs, like opioids such as Vicodin and Oxycontin, then you have to be a lot more careful, as these drugs have a serious potential to be toxic if they are not taken properly. Your doctor should advise you on how to use your pain medication, regardless of the class of drugs to which it belongs, to ensure maximum safety.
Nicotine and Pain Relievers: Is There Risk of an Interaction?
Like we said, there are various substances that can negatively interact with pain medications, such as alcohol and even other prescribed drugs. Nicotine is commonly classified as a drug due to its effects on the nervous system, which are described as both stimulating and calming. And, as we all know, nicotine is the active ingredient in e-liquids that are vaporized, available in two forms, which are freebase nicotine and salt-based nicotine.
Salt-based nicotine is known for being more potent than freebase nicotine, so one might wonder if one is more dangerous than the other when it comes to taking pain meds. However, the truth is that nicotine is not found to interact negatively with pain medications in any way.
Nicotine is not technically intoxicating, and therefore does not require certain metabolites that are associated with alcohol and heavy drugs. Therefore, in short, there’s no real reason to stop vaping just because you’re taking a medication for pain, regardless of the medication itself.
Can Nicotine Interfere with the Pain Meds’ Ability to Offer Relief?
While nicotine and pain meds do not present a risk of negative, dangerous interactions, what about effectiveness? Can nicotine subdue the effectiveness of certain pain meds?
Well, that’s hard to say.
Some argue that those who use nicotine daily may find that pain medications are slightly less effective, due to the effects of nicotine on the nervous system, which could potentially prevent pain medications from providing extensive analgesic relief. The bottom line, however, is that pain medications of all kinds are largely considered effective for nicotine users and non-nicotine users alike, so you really don’t need to worry.
If you’ve been told to take medications for pain, take them as directed, and don’t try to take more in hopes of preventing some sort of subduing effect due to your nicotine use. Likely, the potential for nicotine to interfere with the effectiveness of pain medications is extremely slight and may not even apply to most nicotine users.
Why is Talking to Your Doctor Always the Best Course of Action?
At the end of the day, when starting a new pain medication, you should always ask your doctor these questions, as they are authorized to provide medical advice, while we are not. Tell them about your nicotine usage and ask whether or not it’s safe to take the medication, and whether or not the medication will be less effective due to your vaping habit. Chances are that they will say that there should not be any kind of issue whatsoever.
Overall, the ingredients in your e-liquid and your pain medications should be fine to take together, but ultimately, once again, it is best to talk to your doctor just in case. Still, remember that a lot of vapers are out here who take pain medications without any problems, so you likely have nothing to be concerned about.