Medications

Physicians more likely to prescribe opioids later in the day

It's only human that decision-making changes when people are rushed. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Harvard University conducted the first study in the United States to examine this phenomenon—using a national ...

Medications

The path from prescription painkillers to addiction

Abuse of prescription painkillers has become an epidemic in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even more concerning is that those going through withdrawal may turn to heroin as ...

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Analgesic

An analgesic (also known as a painkiller) is any member of the diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain (achieve analgesia). The word analgesic derives from Greek an- ("without") and algos ("pain"). Analgesic drugs act in various ways on the peripheral and central nervous systems; they include paracetamol (acetaminophen), the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as the salicylates, narcotic drugs such as morphine, synthetic drugs with narcotic properties such as tramadol, and various others.

In choosing analgesics, the severity and response to other medication determines the choice of agent; the WHO pain ladder, originally developed in cancer-related pain, is widely applied to find suitable drugs in a stepwise manner. The 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.

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