Pain medications are drugs used to relieve pains of diverse types. Pain could be experienced because of diseases, injuries, illnesses, or surgeries. The pain process is a complex one, therefore there are many types and classifications of pain medications that provide relief. This article examines some of them.
There are two broad categories of pain medications: prescription and nonprescription. The nonprescription category consists of several mild anti-inflammatory medications that are mainly used for short-term acute pain like menstrual cramps, headaches, and sprains. Examples of drugs in this category are ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen.
In the prescription category are extensive pain-killing drugs. These drugs are more powerful than the nonprescription category. Some unconventional drugs were not originally developed as pain-relievers but have pain-relieving effects in certain conditions. For example, antiseizure drug pregabalin and antidepressant duloxetine hydrochloride.
Pain-relief medications for mild-to-moderate pain can be bought at the drug store without a prescription. They are known as Over-The-Counter drugs (OTCs). There are two common types of OTC pain medications, paracetamol recommended for short-term pain, and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs is a group of drugs that work by reducing swelling and inflammation and relieving pain such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Some pain-relief medications can be applied directly at the site of the pain on the skin. These are called topical medicines and can be helpful for short-term pain relief. These drugs often contain NSAID-type medicines like ibuprofen, diclofenac, or piroxicam and work by decreasing inflammation and swelling.
Other pain relief medications used in the management of pain include steroids, such as prednisolone used in the management of pain associated with inflammation or arthritis. Another is muscle relaxants, such as orphenadrine, for the treatment of pain caused by sprains, strains, or muscle injuries.
In the same vein is caffeine, which can be added to other pain-relief medicines to increase their effectiveness, and medicinal cannabis which may be effective for neuropathic pain as a last resort but subject to the prescription of a professional healthcare provider with specific experience on its use in pain management.
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