Pain Medication and Primary care

The World Health Organization recommends a pain ladder for managing analgesia. It was first described for use in cancer pain, but it can be used by medical professionals as a general principle when dealing with analgesia for any type of pain. Generally the drugs are classified for pain mainly include, Opioid medicationscan provide short, intermediate or long acting analgesia depending upon the specific properties of the medication and whether it is formulated as an extended release drug. Opioid medications may be administered orally, by injection, via nasal mucosa or oral mucosa, rectally transdermally, intravenously, epidurally and intrathecally. In chronic pain conditions that are opioid responsive a combination of a long-acting or extended release medication is often prescribed in conjunction with a shorter-acting medication  for breakthrough pain, or exacerbations. The other major group of analgesics are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Acetaminophen/paracetamol is not always included in this class of medications. However, acetaminophen may be administered as a single medication or in combination with other analgesics. The alternatively prescribed NSAIDs such as ketoprofen and piroxicam have limited benefit in chronic pain disorders and with long-term use are associated with significant adverse effects. Some antidepressant and antiepileptic drugs are used in chronic pain management and act primarily within the pain pathways of the central nervous system, though peripheral mechanisms have been attributed as well. These mechanisms vary and in general are more effective inneuropathic pain disorders as well as complex regional pain syndrome. Drugs such as gabapentin have been widely prescribed for the off-label use of pain control. Other drugs are often used to help analgesics combat various types of pain, and parts of the overall pain experience, and are hence called adjuvant medications. Gabapentin  an anti-epileptic  not only exerts effects alone on neuropathic pain, but can potentiate opiates. perhaps not prescribed as such, other drugs such as Tagamet and even simple grapefruit juice may also potentiate opiates, by inhibiting CYP450 enzymes in the liver, thereby slowing metabolism of the drug. In addition, orphenadrine, cyclobenzaprine, trazodone and other drugs with anticholinergic properties are useful in conjunction with opioids for neuropathic pain.

  • Non-narcotic medications
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Narcotic pain medications
  • Adjuvants
  • Clinical manifestations of pain

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