Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Pain management health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Best painkillers for your pain


WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith

Different painkillers work better for different types of pain and some painkillers may not be appropriate for some people. For example, children under 16 should never be given aspirin except on medical advice. Some pain killers are generally available in shops, some in pharmacies and others are only available with a prescription.

If you are not sure about which painkiller is right for you, seek medical advice. Only take the dose recommended on the packet or as advised by a medical professional. To avoid taking too high a dose, remember, some pain killing ingredients can also be found different products. For example, paracetamol may also be found in cold remedies.

Painkilling ingredients like paracetamol and ibuprofen may also be found in branded medicines, but generic versions are usually cheaper.

Paracetamol

Paracetamol is a common type of painkiller which is widely available in tablets, caplets and as age-appropriate liquid suitable for children.

Paracetamol is often taken for headaches, non- nerve pain and the symptoms of colds or flu.

This treatment is unlikely to cause side effects in recommended doses but even a small overdose can cause serious problems.

Seek medical advice if taking paracetamol for longer than three days.

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is another common painkiller and part of a group of medicines called NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

These are used to treat pain and inflammation. They should not be taken for long periods of time, unless advised by a healthcare professional.

Side effects include stomach upsets, bleeding, kidney and heart problems.

Other NSAIDs include diclofenac and naproxen and may be recommended after an injury or for arthritis.

Aspirin

Aspirin is another type of NSAID and is often recommended for headaches, toothache or period pain. It should never be given to under 16s.

Codeine

Codeine is often used in combination with paracetamol in a single medicine as tablets or to be dissolved in water.

Paracetamol and low-dose codeine is known as co-codamol and is available over the counter from pharmacies. Higher doses of codeine are available on prescription.

Codeine-containing medicines should not be given to children under 12 years old. Codeine should only be given to children over 12 for short term moderate pain, at the lowest possible dose and only if it cannot be relieved by other painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Codeine painkillers can cause dependency.

Amitriptyline and Gabapentin

For pain caused by damaged nerves or sensitivity linked to nerve problems, such as shingles or neuropathy, medicine that's also used for epilepsy and depression may be recommended.

Amitriptyline is a depression treatment and gabapentin is an epilepsy drug which may be prescribed for nerve pain.

Morphine

Morphine and similar treatments, including oxycodone, fentanyl and buprenorphine, are very strong painkillers prescribed by GPs or pain specialists. The delivery of the painkiller may be in different forms, including wearing medicated patches.

 

Reviewed on July 01, 2013

Next Article:
Published on September 07, 2011

Popular Slideshows & Tools on Boots WebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
humbug hard candies
Diarrhoea & more
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
smiling african american woman
Best kept secrets for beautiful hair
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
hand extinguishing cigarette
13 best tips to stop smoking
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
crossword puzzle
Help for the first hard days
bag of crisps
Food cravings that wreck your diet
probiotic shakes
Help digestion
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting