Tuesday, August 19, 2008 Kathy, Community Member, asks

Q: Why does most pain medication make me itch

Most pain medication make me itch to some degree.  I get hives from percocet, but others just make my skin itch

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Answers (3)
8/19/08 10:13pm

Many people do not realize that most types of opiate medications, pain medications cause a release of histamine in the body. The histamine causes itchiness, nausea, headaches, nausea, or hives/rashes.


Using an anti-histamine (benadryl or vistaril) 30 minutes prior to taking the pain medication relieves these common side effects.


Some medications cause less histamine release than others, so talk to your doctor to find better solutions.


Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

maria de la cruz, Community Member
10/21/08 12:48pm
why does pain medication make me itch and what to do? Reply
Caroline, Community Member
10/10/10 3:18pm

I have a broken ankle and have been on pain meds for a month (just thought it was a bad sprain for the first 3 weeks. No insurance=no x-rays). The itching was very unpleasant! I could follow the reasoning for not taking any antihistamine which would contribute to my loopiness so I scrounged through the first aide drawer and came up with Solarcaine aloe extra spray burn relief. It has 5% lidocaine and really does help. 

lynette, Community Member
2/21/13 3:10pm

itching from leg casting

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By Kathy, Community Member— Last Modified: 02/21/13, First Published: 08/19/08