Wiki article on this topic: An analgesic or painkiller is any member of the group of drugs used to achieve analgesia, relief from pain.
Analgesic drugs act in various ways on the peripheral and central nervous systems. They are distinct from anesthetics, which temporarily affect, and in some instances completely eliminate, sensation. Analgesics include paracetamol , the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as the salicylates, and opioid drugs such as morphine and oxycodone.
When choosing analgesics, the severity and response to other medication determines the choice of agent; the World Health Organization pain ladder specifies mild analgesics as its first step.
Analgesic choice is also determined by the type of pain: For neuropathic pain, traditional analgesics are less effective, and there is often benefit from classes of drugs that are not normally considered analgesics, such as tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants.
Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs provided pain relief in common conditions such as muscle sprains and overuse injuries. Since the side effects are also lesser, topical preparations could be preferred over oral medications in these conditions.
Each different type of analgesic has its own associated side effects.
Analgesics are typically classified based on their mechanism of action.
Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen or APAP, is a medication used to treat pain and fever. It is typically used for mild to moderate pain. In combination with opioid pain medication, paracetamol is now used for more severe pain such as cancer pain and after surgery. It is typically used either by mouth or rectally but is also available intravenously. Effects last between two and four hours. Paracetamol is classified as a mild analgesic. Paracetamol is generally safe at recommended doses.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , are a drug class that groups together drugs that decrease pain and lower fever, and, in higher doses decrease inflammation. The most prominent members of this group of drugs, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, are all available over the counter in most countries.
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