You may be given various types of pain medications (often referred to as “narcotics”). Your medical team is the best source of information about which pain medications will best control your pain, if you have any. One goal is to be as pain free as possible when you are in treatment. You have enough other things to worry about without trying to deal with unnecessary pain. You may feel that you have to be totally brave and completely stoic. You don’t. You might be hesitant to take pain meds because you – or your parents – are afraid you will become addicted to them. When given in a controlled manner for short periods of time, addiction to these drugs is not a worry. If you are on a certain drug for a longer period of time, your body may become tolerant to it and you may need to gradually taper off. Don’t be afraid to ask for pain meds if you need them.

Commonly used pain medications:














(Fentanyl) These are usually given by injection, liquid, pill or IV. Sometimes they are given as a rectal suppository.

Common side effects:

  • Sedation
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Sometimes nausea or vomiting

Local anesthetic to prevent pain


EMLA is an anesthetic cream that numbs your skin. It’s great if you need to have a needle stick for an IV, access your medi-port, or have an injection. It can also be used for procedures like spinal taps and bone marrow aspirations. All you have to do is apply it to your skin about 1-2 hours before the procedure, cover it with an airtight dressing, and it will numb the area. You don’t feel a thing (if you wait long enough). EMLA is only sold with a prescription.