Painkillers bring about quick effects, especially those with Paracetamol. However, patients need to know how to use painkillers effectively to get the best results.
- Common painkillers:
1.1. Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers:
Over-the-counter painkillers are effective in alleviation of slight pain such as headache, fever, cold, toothache, period pain, flu, arthritis pain, etc.
Over-the-counter painkillers can be classified into 2 main types: non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and Paracetamol (Acetaminophen).
- Acetaminophen is included in more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter medicines (including painkillers, cough and cold medicines, etc.);
- NSAIDs are a group of common drugs used to reduce fever and ease slight pain such as naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen and many other drugs used to treat colds, allergies and sinusitis.
1.2. Prescription painkillers:
Common prescription painkillers can be listed as opioids and non-opioid analgesics. Opioids are remarkably effective by impacting upon the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract to cause changes to the pain.
Prescription painkillers are commonly of the following:
- Morphine: used before and after surgeries or operations (post-op);
- Oxycodone: used to ease moderate-to-severe pain;
- code-ine: often used in combination with paracetamol or other non-opioid analgesics. It is prescribed for slight-to-moderate pain;
- Hydrocodone: often used in combination with paracetamol or other non-opioid analgesics to deaden moderate to severe pain.
- The appropriate use of painkillers:
2.1. How to use pain relievers properly?
Most people with little knowledge about painkillers do not know how to use them properly. In fact, painkillers are effective only when you use it safely and correctly as prescribed by your doctors and druggists. By contrast, the inappropriate use of painkillers is likely to cause serious harm to the body and can even lead to death in the worst-case scenarios.
That’s why you must use painkillers carefully as instructed by your doctors and druggists. Also, don’t change your medicine arbitrarily or give it to others.
2.2. Things to note when using painkillers:
When using painkillers, you should be careful, depending on each type. Let’s look at some notes below:
2.2.1. Acetaminophen (paracetamol)
- Overdose can pose a threat to your life;
- Excessive use can cause serious damage to the liver, and even lead to death, especially when you drink alcohol and take medicine containing Acetaminophen at the same time;
- Be careful when using Acetaminophen for children. In this case, you need to consult with your doctor or druggist.
- It may cause stomach bleeding to the patient, especially those above 60 or with the medical history of inflammatory diseases, ulcers, stomach bleeding;
- It may pose a high risk of kidney disease to:
- those taking diuretics
- people with high blood pressure and heart disease
- those with the medical history of kidney disease,
- people above 60 years.
- Using opioids can cause sleepiness, so do not operate machines or drive after taking opioids, especially when you take this medicine for the first time;
- The suitable dose of opioids varies from person to person, it means an appropriate dose to you may be an overdose to others. Therefore, avoid using others’ medicine or let them use yours.
Patients had better consult with their druggists, doctors or healthcare providers when having questions about painkillers. Consultations are even more necessary before taking painkillers in combination with other or over-the-counter medicines.
You can lower the risk of drug interactions by not combining opioids with alcohol, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines. If it is the case, it will slow breathing, and lead to respiratory failure and pose a threat to your life.
In addition, you should not bite or break painkillers as this can change the level of drug absorbed into your body, leading to an overdose or even death!