Analgesic – Uses, Side Effects & Precautions
Although they are widely used as painkillers, long-term use of analgesics may be risky.
An analgesic is a medicine that relieves pain.
These drugs can be sold as over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drug.
There are various types of analgesics, which include:
• Opioids (narcotics), such as Avinza, Kadian, or MS Contin (morphine), Oxycontin (oxycodone), Dolophine or Methadose (methadone), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), codeine, Demerol (meperidine), Duragesic or Actiq (fentanyl), and other people
• Tylenol (Acetaminophen)
• Combination drugs containing Tylenol and an opioid
• Non-Steroids Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), such as advil (Ibuprofen), Elev (naproxen), celebrex (celecoxib), and others
• Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), sometimes referred to as NSAID
Medicines are commonly used to treat pain due to arthritis, surgery, injury, toothache, headache, menstrual cramps, pain muscles, or other causes.
How Does an Analgesic Work?
Various analgesics work in different ways.
Opioids reduce the brain’s response to pain signals sent by the nervous system and those pain signals.
Tylenol works by changing the way the body feels pain.
NSAIDs block the effect of prostaglandins (chemicals with hormone-like properties in chemicals in the body), which reduces both pain and swelling.
Analgesic Side Effects
Your risk of experiencing side effects depends on the type of analgesic you take, and how long do you take it.
Side effects of analgesics may include:
• Stomach upset
• Is ringing in your ears
• Skin Itching or Teeth
• Dry mouth
Before taking analgesic, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions.
Children should not take aspirin because a serious condition known as Reye’s syndrome can occur.
Taking large amounts of Tylenol can damage your liver. Do not take more than three grams (about six extra strength pills, or nine regular pills) in one day.
NSAIDs can increase the risk of stomach bleeding, heart attack, or stroke. Talk to your doctor about these risks.
If you take opioids for long periods of time, you can develop dependence because your body is used in medicine. Some people become accustomed to opioids. If this is a concern, talk to your doctor.
When you begin taking opioids the first time, you may need to avoid driving – or need to perform other tasks, as long as you know how you react to medication.
Before starting with analgesics, tell your doctor about all prescriptions, non-prescription, illegal, entertaining, herbal, nutritional or dietary drugs.
Carefully follow the directions on your prescription or package label. Do not take more medicine than recommended.
If you suspect excessive analgesic, then immediately contact a poison control center or emergency room.
Analgesic and Alcohol
Alcohol can cause some side effects of analgesic.
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking these medicines, especially analgesics which contain acetaminophen.
Analgesic and Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, you may be pregnant, or breastfeeding the child before taking analgesic, tell your doctor.
You have to discuss the risks and benefits of taking medication with your doctor.