Most patients take pain relief medicine to help alleviate symptoms and general pain, including headaches, sore muscles, arthritis and other types of pain. Some over-the-counter pain relievers can help with these symptoms, but more severe or chronic pain may only be treated with prescription medication. Pain relievers have many benefits, but some also come with risks, especially when the patient needs a medical prescription.
Furthermore, the type of medicine a patient takes depends on his or her needs. Over-the-counter medications may not be enough for a patient who undergoes surgery and may need stronger medication along with antibiotics. There are many types of pain-relieving medicine, but the main ones include opioids, antidepressants, muscle relaxants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. To learn more about these and other kinds of pain relief medicine, read the sections below.
Some antidepressants fall into the category of pain relief medicine because of its effect on the nerves. Patients can take antidepressants for chronic pain management of fibromyalgia and other conditions even if the patient does not suffer from depression. Most antidepressants used for pain treat nerve damage, arthritis, migraine and pain in the lower back.
Doctors still do not understand the pain-relieving mechanism of this pain relief medicine, but antidepressants are useful in many cases. The types of pain relief that antidepressants give patients are not immediate. Some antidepressants may take several weeks until they come into full effect into a patient’s body. Furthermore, most antidepressants may increase the neurotransmitters in the spinal cord, which relieves pain by reducing pain signals. For that reason, antidepressants are an effective drug to treat pain.
Anticonvulsants are another type of pain relief medication that patients often use along with antidepressants to have a full effect. Although some doctors recommend pain management with antidepressants, the type of antidepressant prescription depends on the drug’s chemical composition. This may have a different impact on the body of the patient that takes this pain medicine. Tricyclic antidepressant is the most common type of pain relief antidepressant.
About Muscle Relaxants
Another kind of pain relief medicine that doctors recommend that their patients are muscle relaxants. This type of medication is useful for management of pain in areas like the neck or back. Muscle relaxers are also capable of treating muscle spasms that happen when the muscle is contracting, twitching, or cramping out of a patient’s control.
Other patients need muscle relaxers when over-the-counter pain relievers do not work to relieve their pain. Patients with liver problems or ulcers may also need a muscle relaxants instead of other medicine like acetaminophen o ibuprofen.
Pain management with muscle relaxants has a lot of benefits and some risks too. Side effects of painkillers are common, and muscle relaxants are no exception. Many relaxants come with at least one side effect. In severe cases, some patients may develop liver damage if their doctor does not prescribe them the right medication.
Abuse and inappropriate consumption of this type of pain killer will also cause adverse results for the patients’ health. Some common minor side effects include:
- Dry mouth.
- Effects on blood pressure.
About Non-Anti Inflammatory Painkillers and Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
In many cases, patients can purchase pain relief medicine without prescription by going to their local pharmacy. Most over-the-counter pain relievers are non-anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs). Some of the most common NSAIDs include:
Over-the-counter medications are very common because of how easy they are to obtain and how effective they can be. NSAIDs are also one of the drugs Americans use the most to relieve and soothe pain like mild headaches, sprains and even some symptoms of arthritis. These drugs are also beneficial to reduce fevers and lower swelling in some areas of the body.
Moreover, there are also side effects of pain killers with over-the-counter medications. Although many other types of medications are riskier than over-the-counter medications, NSAIDs may cause heart and liver problems in some cases. On the other hand, some NSAIDs have positive effects. Aspirin, for example, is not only an effective drug for pain management, but it is also useful to help patients that take it to prevent blood cloths. This, in turn, reduces the patient’ risk to suffer from a heart attack or a stroke.
About Opioids (Narcotic) Drugs
Over-the-counter pain relievers may be the best to help relieve mild pains such as headaches. However, doctors will often prescribe more potent pain relief medicine such as opioids. They are a type of narcotic pain medication that may have serious side effects on those who consume the drug. Some patients even develop an opioid addiction. Many opioid addicts started consuming narcotics as a prescription for pain management, while others obtain it illegally and become addicted to this powerful drug over time.
However, pain management with opioids can be instrumental and safe if the patient takes the appropriate measures and has the right dosage. Different from over-the-counter medications, opioids bind to receptors in the brain and tell the patient’s body that he or she is not in pain. Therefore, they can become very addictive, and doctors recommend not to take opioids along with other types medication to relieve pain.
The list of pain killers with side effects is extensive, but opioids tend to have the most powerful side effects. Therefore, doctors only recommend opioids if it is strictly necessary and in cases of severe pain. Some of the most popular opioids include:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin).
Pain management with an opioid is only effective when patients follow the dosage as instructed by their doctor. Doctors may adjust the dosage of narcotics overt time to reduce the side effects of these pain killers. This measure also helps doctors prevent opioid addiction in their patients and effectively treat the pain.
Finally, narcotics can be very dangerous when a patient takes them along with sleeping pills (some NSAIDs), antibiotics, antidepressants or alcohol. This may also cause the drug to be ineffective to treat the pain.