Pain Medications to Treat Kidney Stones

Over-the-counter pain relievers (e.g., aspirin, Tylenol® , Advil®) usually are not effective by themselves for the more severe pain caused by kidney stones. However, you can try a combination of Aleve® , Advil®, or Motrin® plus Tylenol® for milder pain. Talk to your physician about what dosages of these medications is safe for you to take.

Oral opiod analgesics, such as acetaminophen/codeine (Tylenol with Codeine®), propoxyphene HCL (Darvon®), hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin®) and oxycodone/acetaminophen (Percocet®) may be prescribed to minimize moderate pain associated with stones. Note: In November 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed Darvon for the market in the United States and urged doctors to stop prescribing this medication.

Injectable medications such as morphine sulfate (Duramorph PF®), hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), and ketorolac HCL (Toradol®) may be administered intravenously (IV) or intramuscularly (by injection) for severe pain. There is a risk for dependency with oral narcotic analgesics used for more than 3–4 weeks at a time and a small risk for accidental overdose if injectable medications are given directly into a vein.

Side effects of these medications include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Slowed breathing (respiration)
  • Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can be reduced using medications such as prochlorperazine edisylate (Compazine®), promethazine HCL (Phenergan®), and metoclopramide HCL (Reglan®).

Publication Review By: Stephen W. Leslie, M.D., F.A.C.S., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 02 Dec 2011