Different Types of Popular Pain Medication

Paracetamol, aspirin, and ibuprofen are the commonly used pain medications but their different properties make them more appropriate for certain kinds of pains.

There are different kinds of pain medications made available in the market that are used to manage pain. The most commonly used pain medications are paracetamol, aspirin, and ibuprofen. Most people take these pain Pain Medicationmedications to treat their headache, muscle problems, fever and other body pains. However, many people just take the first available medicine. It may be unknown to many that despite all three being painkillers, they have specific properties that make them more appropriate for certain types of pains. This article aims to help a person decipher which pain medication to take at the different minor ailments experienced.

Pain Medication: Paracetamol

Paracetamol is a non-opioid (non-narcotic) pain reliever that does not have anti-inflammatory properties, thus it does not speed up healing of inflammation. However, it is also known to have anti-pyretic (temperature reducing) properties that have proven to be effective against cold and flu. It is the safest pain medication for pregnant women, but should still be avoided during the first three months. Paracetamol is available as tablet and capsules that are generally recommended to be taken 500mg-1g every 4-6 hours with a maximum of 4g daily.

  • How it works:
    • Inhibits amount of prostaglandins (responsible for pain and medication) that are produced as a response to injury
    • Increases pain threshold
    • Best for:
      • Mild to moderate headaches, toothaches, fever, cold and flu. and general pain relief
      • Side Effects:
        • No general side effects
        • Dangers:
          • Overdose may lead to liver failure or other liver conditions
          • Taking with other medications:
            • Generally safe to be taken with other medications but should still seek pharmacist or doctor’s advice if taking other medications

Pain Medication: Aspirin

Aspirin is a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs). Although it can serve as a pain killer, it is not necessarily prescribed for this, but sometimes, as a blood thinner. Because it can irritate the stomach, it is generally recommended to be taken with food. It is available in liquid or tablet form and 300-900 mg is generally recommended every 4-6 hours, with a maximum of 4g daily.

  • How it works:
    • Blocks prostaglandin
    • Prohibits COX1 and 2 other enzymes
    • Best for:
      • Muscular pain, such as menstrual pain, backache, neck ache, toothache, sore throat, sprains and pain from broken bones
      • Fevers
      • In low dosages, blood thinner to avoid heart attacks and strokes
      • Side Effects:
        • May irritate the stomach if taken alone
        • Dangers:
          • Should not be given to individuals younger than 20 as it risked to Reye’s Syndrome
          • In some cases, it has lead to certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, asthma, stomach ulcers, and liver and kidney diseases
          • In high doses, it can lead to abnormal breathing
          • Taking with other medications:
            • May mix badly with other medications, vitamins, herbals or dietary supplements

Pain Medication: Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is also a type of NSAIDs. Unlike paracetamol, ibuprofen speeds up healing process by decreasing pain and inflammation surrounding a wound. It can also irritate the stomach lining, thus it is generally recommended to be taken after a meal. It is available in liquid or tablet form and 1200-1800mg, with a maximum of 2400mg daily.

  • How it works:
    • Blocks prostaglandin
    • Prohibits COX1 and 2 other enzymes
    • Best for:
      • Rheumatic and muscular pain, headaches, backaches, menstrual pain, neck ache, and pain from broken bones
      • Fevers, cold and flu-like symptoms
      • Side Effects:
        • It may lead to drowsiness and dizziness
        • Dangers:
          • May lead to ulcers if taken in large doses
          • Taking with other medications:
            • It can interact with medications, including herbal and complementary preparations, but should still seek pharmacist or doctor’s advice if blood clotting problems, peptic ulcers, kidney and heart problems are present

Disclaimer: This articles seeks to provide information on which pain medications may best work for minor ailments but should not be used for medical advice. Enrol in first aid training to learn more about which pain medication should be used for pain management.

Online Sources:

http://www.saga.co.uk/health/medicines/know-your-painkillers.aspx

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-59806/Are-taking-right-painkiller.html

http://scienceisbrilliant.tumblr.com/post/26291515019/paracetamol-vs-aspirin-vs-ibuprofen

 

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