or Pain Killers
An analgesic (colloquially known
as painkiller) is any member of the diverse group of
drugs used to relieve pain. Analgesic drugs include
the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such
as the salicylates, narcotic drugs such as morphine,
and synthetic drugs with narcotic properties such as
tramadol. Other classes of drugs not normally considered
analgesics are used to treat neuropathic pain syndromes;
these include tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants.
NSAIDs such as aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen not
only relieve pain but also reduce fever and inflammation.
Narcotic analgesics such as opiates and opioids largely
work through specific opioid receptors in the central
nervous system and alter the perception of pain (nociception).
They are used to alleviate pain not relieved by the
Tetrahydrocannabinol and some other cannabinoids, either
from the Cannabis sativa plant or synthetic, have analgesic
Other analgesic agents include Ketamine (an NMDA receptor
antagonist), Clonidine and other alpha-2 receptor agonists
and Mexiletine and other local anaesthetic analogues.
Analgesics are frequently used in combination, such
as the paracetamol (acetaminophen) and codeine preparations
found in many non-prescription pain relievers. They
can also be found in combination with vasoconstrictor
drugs such as pseudoephedrine for sinus-related preparations,
or with antihistamine drugs for allergy sufferers.
When used appropriately, narcotic analgesics are safe
and effective, carrying relatively little risk of addiction.
In the United States in recent years, however, there
has been a wave of new addictions to prescription painkillers
such as Oxycontin and Vicodin. The U.S. Government is
now taking steps to reverse this epidemic, which it
has blamed on easy access to prescription drugs over
Side effects of analgesic use may include ulceration
and gastric irritation (with NSAIDs), as well as reduced
digestive function (a side effect of opioids).
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