Medications: opioids vs non-opioids
Non-opioid medications may be beneficial in helping to control chronic pain. Some examples of non-opioid pain medications include over the counter medications such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), Motrin (ibuprofen), and Aleve (naproxen). Some prescription medications may also be used to manage pain. Neurontin (gabapentin) is often prescribed to manage nerve pain. Corticosteroids may be used to decrease pain caused by inflammation, and some types of antidepressants may also be effective in treating chronic pain. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a topical pain medication such as lidocaine or capsaicin.
It is important to discuss the use of these medications with your doctor as they may have dangerous interactions with other prescription medications or cause dangerous side effects for some people.
Opioids are medications used to relieve severe pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals from your body and change how your brain perceives pain. Typically, opioids are prescribed to people who are injured, are recovering from surgery, or are suffering from chronic pain.
Some examples of common opioids include:
- Norco, Vicodin, or Percocet
- Morphine, Dilaudid, or Fentanyl
Opioids are rarely a permanent solution to chronic pain. They can reduce some types of pain, but not all types, and can even make some pain worse. It is impossible for your doctor to know how much your pain may decrease from taking opioids or how much your quality of life will improve.