What is an analgesic?

Surely right now in the pantry of your bathroom (or the kitchen) you have a huge diversity of medicines that you have needed over the years, when for example you got sick from the flu or from a cold, or from any other ailment. We can speak on this occasion - for example - of home first aid kit that, in a basic way, would include a series of medicines and elements that will be useful at certain times.

Of course, you should bear in mind that before taking a medication it is essential that it has always been prescribed by your doctor. And check this kit at least once a year, since it is essential to recycle expired medicines.

Among the different basic medicines that we should have at home we find the ones known as analgesics, such as paracetamol or aspirin.

What is an analgesic medication and what is its function?

A analgesic is a medicine whose main function is to soothe, relieve or eliminate pain. Among other aspects, it helps reduce or alleviate headaches, muscular, arthritic and other pains or related attacks.

There are different types of analgesics, among which we can highlight non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics, major opioid analgesics and other adjuvant drugs.

Types of analgesic medications

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories: known as NSAIDs, they act by inhibiting crucial enzymes in the production of prostaglandins, pain mediators. The best known is aspirin.
  • Major opiatesThey can be natural (opioid) or artificial (opioid), which act on the opioid receptors of neurons of the nervous system, mimicking the analgesic effect of endogenous opioids. They present the inconvenience of being narcotic substances, depressing the central nervous system in the first doses, but from a therapeutic point of view the dose can be increased according to the presence of pain and the patient's own tolerance.
  • Adjuvant drugs: potentiate the action of any other analgesic in association, but they are not analgesic in themselves when administered in isolation. They emphasize the corticoids, antidepressants and anticonvulsants.

Image | Angelica Portales TopicsAnalgesic

"Intro to the Treatment of Pain with Opioid Medications" by Dr. Charles Berde, for OPENPediatrics (March 2024)