What is pain-relief medicine?

Pain-relief medicines are used as part of a strategy to manage short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) pain. They work by targeting the cause of your pain or by reducing how your pain travels along the nerves to the brain.

What are the different types of pain-relief medicines?

As everyone’s experience of pain is different, individuals need different ways to help manage their pain. There are also specific pain-relief options that suit some circumstances or health conditions.

You can buy some pain-relief medicines ‘over-the-counter’ (OTC). This means you don’t need a prescription from your doctor to access them. Others are only available with a doctor’s prescription.

doctor may also prescribe a medicine, such as:

  • anticonvulsant medicines, such as pregabalin, gabapentin or carbamazepine
  • antidepressants, such as amitriptyline or duloxetine
  • opioids, for example codeinemorphine or tramadol
  • other types of medicine that treat the cause of your pain, such as muscle relaxants or corticosteroids

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