As a person suffering from pain, you are quite aware of the benefits of painkillers. Although they are convenient tools to help you live a normal life, they also come with a variety of adverse side effects, which is why doctors regulate their use. From NSAIDs to opioids, painkillers can be an effective treatment, but might result in long-term addiction and abuse concerns.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the single most popular pain medication that you can purchase over the counter. Depending on the strength of the prescription, you might require a prescription. The main benefit of these medications is that they not only help to combat pain but they are also useful for reducing inflammation.
There are a wide variety of side effects that you’ll experience from consistent use of NSAIDs including upset stomach, gastric ulcers, impaired functioning, and internal bleeding. In most cases you can easily stop using the drugs immediately, but in more chronic cases patients have been known to go through withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. In severe abuse cases, patients will have to lower their daily dosages until the body no longer requires the medication.
As another popular pain medication that you can purchase over the counter, Paracetamol is an ingredient found useful for moderate pain. In most cases it’s the first type of medication that people look for when they’re dealing with acute pain conditions. You might find that some prescribed medications have acetaminophen as well as other painkillers in their formulas.
The largest issue that you’re at risk for with paracetamol is irreversible hepatotoxicity. Unintentional overdoses are incredibly common because most patients assume that even the smallest doses can be mixed with other medications, which is not the case. With consistent use and abuse, you can have vomiting, jaundice, and liver damage.
Typically prescribed to patients for severe types of pain, opioids are extremely effective and include medications such as dihydrocodeine. You will only be able to get these painkillers through a prescription, and in many countries you cannot buy online due to their status as controlled medications. Even though they are incredibly effective, long-term use can present a long list of side effects that can be quite damaging to your body. Most patients experience swelling, itching, cognitive impairment, opioid induced hyperalgesia, changes in sex drive, tiredness, and urinary retention.
In most cases these medications will be prescribed along with other pain medications, though they are non-opioids. You may be prescribed adjuvant analgesics when you have neuropathic pain as they typically come in the form of topical creams or gels that you apply to the affected area. There are relatively few side effects with these pain relievers though sedation can be a typical concern.