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When are prescription drugs needed for chronic pain?

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If over-the-counter drugs don't ease chronic pain, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications, such as:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anti-anxiety drugs such as diazepam (Valium)
  • Antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) for musculoskeletal pain
  • Prescription NSAIDs such as celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • A short course of stronger painkillers such as codeine, fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq), oxycodone and acetominophen (Percocet, Roxicet, Tylox) or hydrocodone and acetominophen (Lorcet, Lortab, and Vicodin).

From: Pain Management: Treatment Overview WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: The Cleveland Clinic Spine Center, The Center for Integrative Medicine at The Cleveland Clinic, and The Cleveland Clinic Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Chronic Pain Network. WebMD Health News: "FDA Approves Cymbalta for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain." WebMD Health News: "FDA Approves Botox to Treat Chronic Migraines."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on October 18, 2019

SOURCES: The Cleveland Clinic Spine Center, The Center for Integrative Medicine at The Cleveland Clinic, and The Cleveland Clinic Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Chronic Pain Network. WebMD Health News: "FDA Approves Cymbalta for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain." WebMD Health News: "FDA Approves Botox to Treat Chronic Migraines."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on October 18, 2019

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How is patient-controlled analgesia used to manage chronic pain?

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