Skip to content

    Pain Management Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Chronic Pain: OTC or Prescription Medicine?

    Prescription Drugs: Not Always the Next Step continued...

    Side effects of antispasmodic medication may include constipation, headache, blurred vision, drowsiness, difficulty sleeping, and decreased sweating or thirst.

    Anticonvulsant Medications

    Some anticonvulsants are used for pain caused by nerve damage associated with diabetes and shingles, as well as for fibromyalgia pain. These medications may include:

    Experts aren't exactly sure how these medications ease pain. Anticonvulsants are thought to block pain signals from the central nervous system.

    Side effects of anticonvulsants may include headache, confusion, skin rash, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, or weight gain. If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, be sure to let your doctor know, because taking certain anticonvulsant drugs during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects.

    Opioid Medications

    Narcotic pain drugs, also called opioids, have a proven record of effectiveness, but many people have concerns about their side effects -- constipation, sweating, and increased sensitivity to pain, among them -- and becoming physically dependent on them.

    "The dose necessary for continued pain relief often increases with opioids and can lead to side effects," says Minzter. "Nevertheless, they play an important role for some people. For them, pain relief outweighs the negative consequences."

    Due to the risk of becoming physically dependent on them, opioid drugs are often a last resort for people who have tried several other treatments and who still have severe pain.

    The opioid drugs listed below relieve moderate to severe pain caused by a variety of illnesses, including cancer, and some are used for pain following surgery.

    Tramadol

    Tramadol (Ultram) may be appropriate for people with moderate to moderately severe pain. Tramadol is in a class of drugs called opiate agonists. The extended-release version of this medicine can be prescribed for people who need medication around the clock to relieve their pain.

    The most common side effects of tramadol include nausea, vomiting, constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, or weakness.

    Intrathecal Therapy

    Intrathecal therapy is a method of delivering pain medication directly to the spinal cord via a "pain pump." This medication delivery system is used for long-term pain that has not responded to non-invasive pain relief methods.

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
     
    illustration of nerves in hand
    Slideshow
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
     
    Woman opening window
    Slideshow
    Man holding handful of pills
    Video
     
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Slideshow
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    Slideshow
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
    man with a migraine
    Slideshow