Painkillers

Painkillers

Definition of Painkillers:

Medicines that are used to treat pain are known as Painkillers. Painkillers come in various different brand names and are available in large number. They can be taken;

  • Taken in liquids, tablets, or capsules form by mouth.
  • By injection.
  • As suppositories via the back passage (rectum).
  • As creams, ointments or patches, some painkillers are also available.

Even though there are a large number of pain killers available, some main types are described later;

Acetaminophen:

Many kinds of chronic pain can be minimized by acetaminophen. One brand name is Tylenol. It also is found in many over-the-counter and prescription pain medicines. You could take more acetaminophen if you’re not careful than is good for you. Especially if you drink alcohol Too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage. If you have to take more than 2 acetaminophen pills a day then tell your doctor.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS):

NSAIDs work by inhibiting the effect of chemicals (enzymes) called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. Prostaglandins are chemicals made by COX enzymes. The production of pain and inflammation at sites of injury or damage is caused by some prostaglandins. Both pain and inflammation can be reduced by reduction in prostaglandin. Some NSAIDs work in slightly different ways from others and not all NSAIDs are exactly the same. Ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen are examples of NSAIDs. Aspirin is also an NSAID. However, it helps to keep the blood from clotting so, it is mainly prescribed.  For example, this is effective for people who have had a heart attack in the past.

Antidepressants:

Chronic pain can also be treated by many drugs that treat other illnesses. For example, antidepressants provide pain relief and can improve function. Nerve damage, arthritis, and fibromyalgia too can be treated by Antidepressants. They also may help with pelvic pain, low back pain, facial pain, and headache. It can take several weeks for the medicines to start working.

Types of antidepressants your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), such as amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), and doxepin.
  • Selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft).

Anticonvulsants:

Anticonvulsant medicine can be prescribed by your doctor for pain. Low back pain can be reduced by anticonvulsants like other chronic pains. Various prevention practices are also adopted while taking anticonvulsants. Examples of anticonvulsants are:

  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • Topiramate (Topamax).

Your doctor may start you on a low dose of anticonvulsants, like antidepressants. This helps prevent or reduce side effects. The doctor may increase the amount over time. If you have suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor right away.

Paracetamol:

Exactly how paracetamol works are no one really knows for sure. COX enzymes in the brain and spinal cord can be blocked by the action of paracetamol. Paracetamol is used to lower a high temperature and to treat pain. However, it does not help with inflammation.

Weak opioids and strong opioids:

Opioids work by binding to certain receptors (opioid receptors) in your central nervous system, your gut and other parts of your body. This leads to increases your tolerance for pain and decrease in the way you feel pain and your reaction to pain. Codeine and dihydrocodeine are examples of weak opioids. They are extremely effective analgesics often used to treat severe pain; although commonly described as ‘weak opioids, however, they should not be underestimated because they can lead to significant addiction and adverse effects. Examples of strong opioids include morphine, oxycodone, pethidine and tramadol. Many people who need strong opioids are in hospital.

  Narcotics:

Chronic pain can be rarely treated by narcotics or opioids by doctor prescription. This is because they are highly addictive. Currently, there is an opioid crisis in the United States. Persons who become addicted can develop severe symptoms, such as increased pain, depression, or suicidal thoughts. They may begin to abuse other substances or their behaviours could become harmful or violent. Addicts are at a risky position of misusing or overdosing on narcotics, which can cause death. Before starting a new medicine, talk to your doctor about all risks of narcotics.

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