Prescription pain medications are useful for decreasing the feeling of pain. Doctors may prescribe these drugs for surgery recovery, acute trauma or chronic conditions. Unfortunately, it is becoming more common for people to abuse painkillers. These drugs can result in addiction because they provide pain relief and euphoria. It is more likely for a patient to develop an addiction if he or she takes opioids for 30 days or longer. This is because patients build a tolerance and dependence on the drugs. 

According to a letter published by Harvard Medical School, there are certain opioids that are more addictive than others. Here are the most habit-forming opiate pain medications.

1. Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a controlled substance that doctors prescribe to treat moderate to severe pain, either for short-term or long-term periods. Brand names for this drug include OxyContin, Roxicodone, Roxybond and Oxaydo. Oxycodone often comes in combination with acetaminophen (Percocet, Oxycet, Xartemis, Roxicet) ibuprofen and aspirin (Percodan). Common side effects of oxycodone include drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, stomach pain and mood changes.

2. Hydrocodone

Another pain reliever that can cause dependence and addiction is hydrocodone. This drug is commonly mixed with acetaminophen under the name Vicodin. Doctors prescribe this drug for severe pain. Some side effects are tiredness, back pain, difficulty sleeping, uncontrollable shaking and muscle tightness. 

3. Hydromorphone

Hydromorphone is commonly known as Dilaudid. This painkiller is usually used in patients who are tolerant of opioid medications. Generally, doctors do not prescribe hydromorphone for mild, moderate or short-term pain. Some symptoms of using hydromorphone include lightheadedness, intense sweating, anxiety, itching and depression. 

4. Meperidine

Meperidine also goes by the brand name Demerol. It comes either in a liquid syrup or tablet. Doctors prescribe this drug for relieving moderate to severe pain. Potential side effects include weakness, dizziness, nausea and changes in vision. 

If you have a prescription for any opioid painkillers, make sure you watch out for signs of addiction.