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Types of Drugs to manage Pain

There are different types of medicines available in the market as either prescription drugs or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for treatment and management of different types of pain.

Over-the-counter medication:

Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin are the most commonly used painkillers.

Acetaminophen: It is commonly known as paracetamol. It is widely used to provide minor pain relief, reduce headache and fever.

Aspirin: It is an NSAID which reduces swelling and decreases the inflammation. It reduces joint pain, muscle pain, and tooth ache.

Ibuprofen: It is an NSAID, and is used to reduce fever, headache, common cold symptoms and migraine.

Naproxen: Naproxen is recommended to reduce muscle ache and pain that is caused due to stretching of the muscles.

Prescription medications:

Prescription painkillers are powerful drugs. They are used to reduce severe pain. These medications obstruct the transmission of nerve signals generated by the chemicals that cause pain. The four major categories of medication that are used as prescription painkillers are as follow:

  • Corticosteroids – Prednisone, prednisolone and methylprednisolone
  • Opioids – Morphine, Fentanyl, Oxycodone and Codeine
  • Antidepressants – Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Paroxetin, Amitriptyline, Doxepin, Imipramine, Venlafaxine, Duloxetine and Setraline
  • Anticonvulsants – Carbamazapeine, gabapentin and pregabalin

Topical medications

The topical medications that are used to reduce pain are classified into three types depending on their action:

  • Analgesic: These medications reduce pain by decreasing the production of chemicals that generate painful stimuli. Example: Methyl salicylate, diclofenac (Volini)
  • Anaesthetic: These medications cause reversible loss of sensation and reduce pain. Example: Lignocaine, Lidocaine (Quikkool)
  • Counterirritant: These medications cause irritation or mild inflammation at one location in order to reduce discomfort or inflammation at the affected site. Examples: Capsaicin, menthol (mint oil), methyl salicylate, and camphor