29 November 2011

The different groups of painkillers

Here follow details of different types of painkillers.

Painkillers (analgesics) can generally be classified in three main categories:

1. Paracetamol
Panado and Tylenol are well-known brand names. One of the main attractions of paracetamol is that it has few side effects. This does not mean that paracetamol can be taken with impunity, because there are possible side effects and these can be devastating! One is liver failure, especially when paracetamol is taken on a long-term basis, in too high quantities, or in combination with acute or chronic alcohol abuse. One of our university hospitals recently admitted a 42-year-old migraine sufferer who used paracetamol on a regular basis, and who had then taken 2 grams (four tablets) of paracetamol with a glass of port wine. Three days later she died from liver failure.

 2. Aspirin and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
This group of drugs is effective against mild to moderate pain, and against fever and inflammation. They are therefore widely used for dental pain, dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation), headache, bone pain, trauma, arthritis, and many more indications.

Aspirin: Disprin and Codis are well-known brand names. It is widely used as a painkiller, and even more widely and effectively (in low dosages) for its blood-thinning side effects, lowering the risk of heart disease. People should not exceed the maximum prescribed dosage, especially not over a long period of time, as prolonged use of high dosages is associated with an increased risk of stomach ulcers.


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