Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Are there any effective non addictive medicines for a very painful post pop knee?"

ZocdocAnswersAre there any effective non addictive medicines for a very painful post pop knee?


I am a 20 year old Black male with a history of prehypertension. This however is regards to me knee. I tore my ACL playing soccer a month ago, and had surgery for it. My doctor prescribed me vicodin and I am very worried about taking it. So much so that I do not take it, and my knee is very painful.


Post-operative pain can be very frustrating as a patient. It is always a good idea to think carefully about medications prescribed by your physicians and to use all medications as prescribed. Many people do worry about taking narcotic medications, and it is true that these medications can be abused if used incorrectly. However, patients who have undergone significant surgical procedures--such as repair of an ACL--should not have any hesitation in using properly prescribed pain medications for the treatment of what is very legitimate pain. Vicodin is actually a combination of two different medications, tylenol and hydrocodone. The tylenol is the same medication as that found in over-the-counter tylenol, and the hydrocodone is a mild narcotic. This (and similar) medications is a very standard post-op narcotic for patients who have undergone minor surgeries. In the spectrum of narcotics it is not a particularly powerful medication and is a very good choice for managing the period of acute pain that comes after having surgery. Medications like this are not meant to be used for weeks and weeks post-surgery but are intended to help with the worst of post-op pain and swelling in the few days following surgery. Any patient should feel that they can refuse a medication if they don't feel comfortable taking it, but when used properly, vicodin is meant to help with surgical pain--and then be stopped as soon as it is no longer needed because something like tylenol alone can help control the pain. You should feel free to discuss your concerns with your surgeon or your primary care doctor so they can explain the pain management strategy in more detail. If you still feel completely against using narcotics of any kind, your doctor should be able to prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication that is not a narcotic. However, these may not work as well to control pain.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.