Skip to content

    Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Pain (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI] - Using Drugs to Control Pain

    The doctor will prescribe drugs based on whether the pain is mild, moderate, or severe.

    Your doctor will prescribe drugs to help relieve your pain. These drugs need to be taken at scheduled times to keep a constant level of the drug in the body to help keep the pain from coming back. Drugs may be taken by mouth or in other ways, such as by infusion or injection.

    Recommended Related to Cancer

    Overview

    This complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) information summary provides an overview of the Gonzalez regimen as a treatment for people with cancer. The summary includes a brief history of the science and philosophies of care that have influenced development of the regimen, the results of research and clinical studies, and side effects that have been associated with this treatment approach. This summary contains the following key information: The Gonzalez regimen is a complex cancer treatment...

    Read the Overview article > >

    Your doctor may prescribe extra doses of a drug that can be taken as needed for pain that occurs between scheduled doses of drug. The doctor will adjust the drug dose for your needs.

    Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to relieve mild pain.

    NSAIDs help relieve mild pain. They may be given with opioids for moderate to severe pain. Acetaminophen also relieves pain, although it does not have the anti-inflammatory effect that aspirin and other NSAIDs do.

    Patients, especially older patients, who are taking acetaminophen or NSAIDs need to be closely watched for side effects. See Treating Pain in Older Patients for more information. Most NSAIDs affect the blood platelets so that it takes longer for blood to clot and stop any bleeding. Aspirin should not be given to children to treat pain.

    Opioids may be used to relieve moderate to severe pain.

    Opioids work very well for the relief of moderate to severe pain. Some patients with cancer pain stop getting pain relief from opioids during long-term therapy. This is called tolerance. Larger doses or a different opioid may be needed if your body stops responding to the same dose. Tolerance of an opioid is a physical dependence on it. This is not the same as addiction (psychological dependence). Opioid doses can be safely increased by your doctor as needed for your pain, without causing addiction.

    There are several types of opioids:

    The doctor will prescribe drugs and the times they should be taken in order to best control your pain.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man holding lung xray
    What you need to know.
    stem cells
    How they work for blood cancers.
     
    woman wearing pink ribbon
    Separate fact from fiction.
    Colorectal cancer cells
    Symptoms, screening tests, and more.
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article