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Types of pain killers- What are their uses and side effects?

15 January, 2022 Anuja Sahi

Pain killers are class of drugs that gives relief from pain and are valuable tools for doctors; however they have their own side effects like other medicines. Some of the side effects caused by pain killers might be serious while others may lead to acute side effects. This article is intended for all those who are more prone to pain killers and here’s why you need to check your dose of pain killers.

Over-the counter and prescription pain killers’ relievers treat a variety of problems. Over the counter medicines help in easing pain from arthritis, headaches, and muscle strains, prescription medications on the other side are generally used for severe pain.

Opioids and normal pain killers

In case of a mild muscle ache or headache, or any other such type of pain we usually take pain killers, and in turn they provide us instant relief in most of the cases. However, when doctors find it difficult to ease the pain through normal pain killers then a prescription opioid is prescribed.

Types of painkillers

  • Non-opioid painkillers: Non-opioid painkillers are usually available in supermarkets or are available over the counter pharmacies. Apart from common painkillers, some painkillers require prescription.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: Examples of anti-inflammatory drugs are ibuprofen or naproxen. These are available over the counter or may require prescription to get such drug.
  • Opioid Painkillers: Such medicines cannot be purchased without prescription. These are prescribed class of pain killers that are prescribed by doctors in case of severe pain.
  • Anti-seizure medications: Medications for epilepsy, seizures, interrupt pain messages to the brain. These include pregabalin, or gabapentin.
  • Steroids: Steroids are strong anti-inflammatory drugs, used in the case of severe case. Steroids stop the body from producing chemicals that cause irritation and inflammation.
  • Combination: Some pain killers are combination of both aspirin and acetaminophen, while certain OTC medicines for headache also contain caffeine.

Common symptoms of painkiller intoxication and abuse:

  • Drowsiness
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory Problems
  • Constipation
  • Lower breathing rate
  • Apathy
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

Who are at more risk of taking painkillers?

People with problems like liver or kidney are advised to take low dosage of painkillers or in severe cases of such problems they are not treated with any type of painkillers. However, even if you are suffering from any chronic disease that requires avoidance of painkillers, your doctor may find a way to give you painkiller and avoid any side effects.

Over- the-counter medicines help in treatment of:

  • Arthritis
  • Back strains and sprains
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Cold, flu, and other related infections
  • Toothaches
  • Muscle aches

What do prescription pain killers treat?

  • Cancer
  • Postoperative pain
  • Traumatic injuries, including damaged or broken bones
  • Severe arthritis pain
  • Severe muscle pain, including back pain.

How to manage pain-killer related side effects:

  • Constipation: One of the most common side effects of opioids medicines is constipation. However, this can be lessened through the intake of fluids, in case your condition allows, as well as increase in dietary fiber can also help in relief from constipation caused due to medicines.
  • Nausea: Nausea and vomiting can occur as frequent side effects of opioids, or can occur within the first or second day of starting the medication. In case you experience severe or the symptom worries you, you can contact your doctor right away.
  • Drowsiness or clouded thinking: Opioids, sometimes can cause sedation, drowsiness, or clouded thinking. Consumers of such medicine may also face sleepiness for the first or second day. You may also experience disoriented, confused, or absentminded after consumption of opioids. In such case, you may contact your doctor or adjust your dose.