When to Call 911
After cardiac surgery, your doctor may give you some medication to help with any pain that you might have. There are different types of medication that your doctor may give you, and they work in slightly different ways.
Anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen or naproxen, are one type, and they should be avoided if you have coronary artery disease or if you’ve had coronary artery bypass surgery. Some common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, and stomach irritation.
Your doctor may also have you take stronger pain medications, called narcotic analgesics. These medications give you pain relief by changing how your brain perceives the pain. Some common side effects include constipation, drowsiness or sleepiness, confusion, gas, nausea or vomiting, dry mouth, or itching.
A full list of side effects for all of your medication can be found in the instructions that come with your medication.
If you are taking one of these medications, you shouldn’t drive or use machinery, and you shouldn’t drink alcohol. If at any point you have any questions or concerns about the pain medication you’re taking or if you want to learn about other ways to help your pain, please talk to your care team.