What are Analgesics

What are Analgesics – Analgesic drugs have been widely in demand. They are the class of drugs widely used to treat a number of pain-related ailments. The class of drugs is popularly known as painkillers. Want to know what are analgesics? In this post, we are sharing everything that you need to know about analgesics! Here we go.

What Is The Definition Of Analgesics?

The word “Analgesic’’ is derived from Greek words ‘an’ means “without” and ‘algos’ which means “pain”. Analgesics are mainly painkillers which are used to reduce or cure pain. The drug is a subcategory of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The medicinal agent provides relief from pain by influencing the peripheral and central nervous systems. They boost the pain enduring power of the body. The drug does not hamper the consciousness or any other sensory modalities.

One can find it as over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drug. Always remember the long-term use of this drug can be risky for your life. There are many side effects associated with which we will discuss later.

Analgesics have been associated to cure almost all kinds of pain. The choice of agent is very important. It is dependent on the severity and response to other medication. World Health Organization (WHO) pain ladder or analgesic ladder tells us about the management of pain. It specifies mild analgesics as its first step. The type of pain is also a measurement of choice like neuropathic pain requires anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants. They both are not analgesics.

Classification Of Analgesic Drugs | Types of Analgesic Drugs

The analgesic drugs are found in capsules, tablets and various liquid forms. The drugs are mainly divided into two categories which are as follows:

Opioid Analgesics/ Narcotic Drugs: They are a class of illegal drugs. They attack the opioid receptors of the nervous system in the body and brain. These drugs produce euphoria (state of joy and happiness) that relieves pain. They are considered to be illegal as they can be dangerous to health. These drugs have been largely misused by many for physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Opioid drugs include heroin and synthetic Opioid such as fentanyl, and pain relievers etc. Overuse of it can lead to death and instability.

Non Opioid Analgesics/ Non-Narcotic Drugs: These drugs are used for acute or persistent pains. They are usually prescribed after a surgery. Non Opioid drugs can be taken in prescription or without prescription. They do not form a habit if used for too long. It has a ceiling effect. This means that with an increase in dosage, the side effects increase and not analgesia. They act on the peripheral.   The drugs are most effective for mild to a moderate headache and pain of musculoskeletal origin.

The analgesic drugs are further subcategorized in the following:

  1. COX-2 inhibitors (cyclooxygenase) like celecoxib, and etoricoxib etc.
  2. Anti-Migraine agents like Acetaminophen, Butalbital, and Caffeine; Ergotamine Sublingual; Methysergide etc.
  3. Analgesic combinations like Tylenol and an opioid
  4. Narcotic analgesics like Acetaminophen/Codeine, Hydromorphone, Meperidine etc.
  5. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIs) like Aleve (naproxen), Advil (ibuprofen), Celebrex (celecoxib) etc.
  6. Narcotic analgesic combinations
  7. Salicylates
  8. Miscellaneous analgesics

Generic Analgesic Drugs List

Take a look at the list of analgesic drugs:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents

Aceclofenac, Acemetacin, Amfenac, Aminophenazone, Ampiroxicam, Amtolmetin guacil, Aspirin

Azapropazone, Bendazac, Benorilate, Benzydamine, Bromfenac, Bufexamac, Carbasalate, Clonixin

Dexibuprofen, Diclofenac, Diethylamine salicylate, Diflunisal, Epirizole, Ethenzamide, Etofenamate

Felbinac, Fenbufen, Fenoprofen, Fentiazac, Fepradinol, Feprazone, Floctafenine, Flufenamic acid, Flurbiprofen, Glucametacin, Ibuprofen, Imidazole salicylate, Indometacin, Isonixin, Kebuzone, Ketoprofen, Ketorolac, Lornoxicam, Loxoprofen, Magnesium salicylate, Meclofenamic acid, Mefenamic acid, Mofezolac, Morniflumate, Nabumetone, Naproxen, Nepafenac, Niflumic acid, Oxaprozin, Oxyphenbutazone, Phenazone, Phenylbutazone, Salamidacetic acid, Salicylamide, Sodium salicylate and much more.

COX-2 Selective Inhibitors: Celecoxib, Etodolac, Etoricoxib, Meloxicam, Nimesulide, Parecoxib.

Opioids: Buprenorphine, Codeine, Diamorphine, Dihydrocodeine, Ethylmorphine, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Morphine, Nicomorphine, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone.

Phenylpiperidines: Anileridine, Ketobemidone, Pethidine.

Open-chain opioids: Dextromoramide, Dextropropoxyphene, Dipipanone, Levomethadone, Meptazinol, Methadone, Piritramide, Tapentadol, Tilidine, Tramadol

Morphinans: Butorphano, Levorphanol, Nalbuphine.

Other analgesics: Acetanilide, Amitriptyline, Dronabinol, Duloxetine, Flupirtine, Gabapentin, Milnacipran, Nabiximols, Nefopam, Paracetamol, Phenacetin, Pregabalin, Propacetamol, Ziconotide

Benzomorphans: Dezocine, Eptazocine, Pentazocine.

Anilidopiperidines: Alfentanil, Fentanyl, Remifentanil. Sufentanil

What Are The Side Effects and Precautions Related to Analgesic Drugs?

Analgesics are available in various types. They are used for relieving pain. The pain condition may vary from person to person, ailment to ailment and treatment to treatment. The medicines are surely effective but have show side effects. They are associated with prolonged usage and type of analgesic you take. One can experience the following symptoms as side effects of analgesic:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Yellowing eyes/skin
  • Upset stomach
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Skin itching or rash
  • Dark urine
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Dry mouth
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Severe headache
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from the stomach/intestine under serious conditions etc.

Children under the age of 12 should not consume it as it can cause Reye’s syndrome and other problems. Excessive use of Opioid drugs can lead to drug abuse, physical dependency and many health issues. It is advised to take in a fixed quantity as directed by the doctor. Pregnant and breastfeeding ladies should not consume it and only take it under the prescription of the doctor. Alcoholics should avoid analgesic drugs as it can make the symptoms worse for you. It is good to avoid alcohol when having this drug.

Therapeutic Uses of Analgesic Drugs

Analgesic drugs are widely used Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They have mainly used a topical solution. The drugs are usually preferred over oral medications for external pains like muscle sprains, injuries, joint pain, etc.

  1. Used as an obstetric analgesia to relieve labor pain.
  2. The drugs are a better alternative to Morphine. Fentanyl, an analgesic has 80 times better potency than morphine. They take shorter duration for effective action.
  3. Analgesics like Aspirin and Paracetamol have the dual power of curing pain and fever. They are effective in cases of fever and flu etc.
  4. They are used to control diarrhea.
  5. The drugs are used for pain relief in post-surgery, menstrual cramps, oral surgery, terminal cancer etc.

Analgesics should not be confused with the other class of painkiller drugs i.e. anesthetics. They are used in surgeries to temporarily eliminate pain/ sensation from the body. Analgesics are therapeutic substances that focus on reducing or curing pain and not numb the sensation.

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