PAINKILLERS

What are painkillers?

Painkillers are medicines that are used to treat pain. There are a large number of painkillers available and they all come in various different brand names

NSAIDs work by blocking (inhibiting) the effect of chemicals (enzymes) called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. COX enzymes help to make other chemicals called prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are involved in the production of pain and inflammation at sites of injury or damage. A reduction in prostaglandin production reduces both pain and inflammation. Not all NSAIDs are exactly the same, and some work in slightly different ways from other

Pain medications – narcotics

Narcotics are also called opioid pain relievers. They are only used for pain that is severe and is not helped by other types of painkillers. When used carefully and under a health care provider’s direct care, these drugs can be effective at reducing pain.

Information

Narcotics work by binding to receptors in the brain, which blocks the feeling of pain.

You should not use a narcotic drug for more than 3 to 4 months, unless your provider instructs you otherwise.

NAMES OF COMMON NARCOTICS

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl — available as a patch
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Tramadol

TAKING NARCOTICS

These drugs can be abused and habit-forming. Always take narcotics as prescribed. Your provider may suggest that you take your medicine only when you feel pain.

Or, your provider may suggest taking a narcotic on a regular schedule. Allowing the medicine to wear off before taking more of it can make the pain difficult to control.

Contact your provider right away if you feel you are addicted to the drug. A sign of addiction is a strong craving for the drug that you can’t control.

Taking narcotics to control the pain of cancer or other medical problems does not itself lead to dependence.

Store narcotics safely and securely in your home.

You may need a pain specialist to help you manage long-term pain.

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