Analgesics, commonly called pain medications, are used to relieve various types of pain ranging from mild headaches to severe pain from injuries and arthritis. There are opioid analgesics and anti-inflammatory analgesics, out of which opioid analgesics are used to change the way our brain perceives pain and anti-inflammatory analgesics are used to reduce inflammation. Unlike anesthesia medications used during surgery, analgesics do not turn off nerves, alter the consciousness of the user or hinder the capability to sense the surroundings. A few of the analgesics can be purchased OTC and others are prescription medications.
Use Of Analgesics
As said above, analgesics are medications used to relieve inflammation and pain. These medications can be used:
- After surgery
- To treat pain from injury, like a fractured bone.
- For acute pain, like that from a headache.
- Chronic pain conditions like cancer, back pain, or arthritis.
Working Of Analgesics
Analgesics can be classified into two main types, anti-inflammatory analgesics, and opioids. Anti-inflammatory analgesics work by reducing the inflammation at the site of pain. Some of the examples of anti-inflammatory analgesics are Aspirin, NSAIDs, Acetaminophen, and COX inhibitors. Opioid analgesics work by changing the way our brains perceive pain. An opioid analgesic can be similar to morphine, but there are also new unrelated opioids available in the market. Some examples are Fentanyl, Meperidine, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Oxycodone, etc.
How Can You Take Analgesics?
Analgesics are available in a variety of forms like:
- Films that can be positioned beneath the tongue.
- A fluid that can be administered into the body through an injection.
- A solution that can be swallowed.
- Nasal sprays.
- Patches that can be affixed to the skin.
- Powder that can be mixed into drinks.
- Tablets, capsules, or pills that can be easily consumed.
Discuss with your healthcare provider to find the form that best suits you. Your healthcare team will also be able to find the right dosage, how often the medication should be taken, and for how long.
Are There Any Risks In Using Analgesics?
Analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications are generally safe. However, they may lead to side effects and other complications if you use them for too long, too often, or in very high dosages. Some of the complications can be:
- Constipation or diarrhea.
- Damage to organs like kidneys and liver.
- Ringing in ears.
- Hypersensitivity response.
- Intestinal and stomach ulcers.
- Trouble forming blood clots, which can result in excessive bleeding.
And lastly, it is always better to consult your doctor before starting a course of these medicines.