Pain medicines are also called analgesics. Every type of pain medicine has benefits and risks. Specific types of pain may respond better to one kind of medication than to another kind. What takes away your pain might not work for someone else.
Over-The-Counter Pain Medicines
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are good for many types of pain. OTC medicines include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Acetaminophen is a non-aspirin pain reliever. It can be used to lower a fever and soothe headaches and other common aches and pains. However, acetaminophen does not reduce swelling (inflammation). This medicine is easier on the stomach than other pain medications, and it is safer for children. It can, however, be harmful to the liver if you take more than the recommended dose.
NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and several others that require a prescription. These medicines relieve pain, but they also reduce inflammation caused by injury, arthritis, or fever. NSAIDs work by reducing the production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which cause pain.
Compound analgesics are pain medications that contain more than one ingredient. Typical combinations include paracetamol and codeine, or paracetamol and oxycodone. These pain medications are usually available by prescription only, because they often contain opioids.
Topical analgesics are applied to the skin to reduce pain and swelling. There are a wide variety of topical analgesics available for pain control, both in prescription and over-the-counter form. These include patches, creams and lotions. Like simple analgesics, topical analgesics can work in a few different ways. Some contain NSAIDs which help target swelling at the site of injury and provide pain relief. Others, such as capsicum, act as skin irritants, countering the feeling of pain.
What Can I Do To Keep My Kidneys Healthy ?
Kidney disease caused by analgesics is often preventable Here are some things you can do to help keep your kidneys healthy.
- Do not use over-the-counter pain relievers more than 10 days for pain or more than three days for fever. If you have pain or fever for a longer time, you should see your doctor
- Avoid prolonged use of analgesics that contain a mixture of painkilling ingredients, like aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine mixtures in one pill
- If you are taking analgesics, increase the amount of fluid you drink to six to eight glasses a day
- If you are taking analgesics, avoid drinking alcohol
- If you have kidney disease, consult your doctor before taking an analgesic, particularly NSAIDs and higher dose aspirin.
- Use NSAIDs under your doctor's supervision if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease or liver disease or if you take diuretic medications or are over 65 years of age
- Make sure your doctor knows about all medicines you are taking, even over-the-counter medicines
- Make sure you read the warning label before using any over-the-counter analgesics.
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