Things you should know about painkillers

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What Are Painkillers ?

Painkillers include opioids and non-opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs that includes heroin and opium. They work to relieve pain by mimicking endorphins, the chemicals produced by the body that block pain signals to the brain and cause a pleasurable sensation. The term ‘painkiller’ is somewhat misleading, however, because these drugs are not always effective at reducing pain; instead, they can produce feelings of euphoria or calmness in many patients.1

What Are Painkillers ?

Many people are unaware that there are different types of painkillers. There are opiates and non-opiates which act on the same receptors, but at different locations in the brain and central nervous system. Opiate painkillers bind to the mu opioid receptors while non-opiate painkillers bind to other types of opioid receptors such as delta and kappa receptor sites. Also check this article about the 4 best places to buy painkillers online

How Do Painkillers Work?

Opiates and non-opioids act in the brain and CNS to relieve pain. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between them. Both types of drugs affect the body in the same way by relieving pain or slowing down the body’s response to pain. In most people, their effects last for about four to six hours.

Non-opioids may be more difficult to tolerate than opiates over the long term as they often cause less euphoria or a pleasant high and can cause drowsiness, constipation and nausea.

How Do Painkillers Work?

Taking opioids without advice from a health care provider is very dangerous as prescription opioid is a very addictive medicine which can lead to opioid abuse and fatal overdose.

Doctor prescribes opioid medications based on your health conditions and your level of pain management.

Opioid Pain Killers

Opiates work by binding to specific opioid receptors in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) which control things like mood, perception, alertness, sleep, coordination, sensitivity to physical or emotional pain. At the same time, opiates also function to suppress the pain response within the body. When someone takes an opioid for pain relief, instead of experiencing pain, they experience a calming effect.

Prescription opioids classification

Opiates are classified by their primary activity and side effects. The three main categories include:

Fast-acting opioids act relatively quickly in the brain and spinal cord to relieve pain and inhibit neurophysiological responses (such as tears) that may lead to chronic pain. These types of opioids include morphine, oxycodone (Oxycontin), methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), fentanyl, sufentanil (Sufenta) and carfentanil. They are mostly prescription painkillers and they are used to chronic pain, severe pain and acute pain.

Opioid Pain Killers

Intermediate-acting opioid medicines work more slowly in the central nervous system (CNS) and therefore take longer to relieve pain and reduce the body’s response to pain. These drugs are usually taken only once or twice a day. Meperidine (Demerol) is an example of an intermediate-acting prescription opioid painkiller.

Slow-acting prescribed opioids, such as codeine, exert their effects over the longer term by reducing feelings of pain (analgesia), producing sleepiness and altering moods, making it easier for people to tolerate both physical and emotional stress. These types of drugs aren’t generally used as often because they can be addictive and produce unpleasant side effects that may outweigh any benefits they might have.

Non-Opiate Pain Killers

Non-opiate painkillers work by blocking certain opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord or gastrointestinal tract. These drugs are called “non opioid medicines ,” but it’s important to understand that these medications do not contain opiates.

Instead, they have a chemical structure that has nothing to do with opioid medicines. As explained above, there are over 100 different non-opiate medications used to treat pain. They include NSAIDs (such as aspirin and ibuprofen), acetaminophen (paracetamol) and codeine (not opiates).


A second type of non-opioids includes drugs such as tramadol (Ultram), which acts like a tricyclic antidepressant and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Tramadol is also sometimes used to help people stop using opiates or short-acting opioid addiction.

Opioid overdose

If you’re an opioid user, overdose is a definite risk. And just because someone else survived an opioid overdose doesn’t mean that you will. Every day, people die from opioid overdoses and many more people are given naloxone to help them recover from a drug or opioid addiction-induced coma or evacuated to a hospital for a higher level of care.

Don’t take your chances with this dangerous situation learn all about the signs and symptoms of an opioid medicine, what to do if you witness an overdose in progress, how to prevent one from happening in the first place, and where you can find help if your life is negatively impacted by prescription opioids.

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