I see a lot of discussions here about this. What with every medication having at least two names, different groups of drugs, etc., it can be confusing at first. Here is some very basic information to help our newer members.
Classes of pain relievers
Narcotic or opiates: these are very strong, require a prescription and can cause physical dependency and withdrawal symptoms if stopped suddenly. Some of the names you will see include Demerol, Dilaudid, Morphine, Tylenol #3, Percodan or Percocet, Oxycontin and others. Because of the potential for dependency and the fact that the effectiveness of these drugs declines when you take them more frequently, they are usually reserved for short-term or occasional use.
NSAID's or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories: These are used for reducing fevers, pain and inflammation. Even though some are available over the counter, they are very effective for most people. Unfortunately, their most common adverse effect is GI bleeding, not a good thing for those of us with IBD. Some GI's will okay occasional or even routine use if there seems to be no effective alternative. If you must use these, do so sparingly and always take them with food to help protect your stomach. These are sold under hundreds of brand names, often (store brand) Pain Reliever; look on the active ingredients for the generic name of the drug:
Aspirin, ASA or Acetylsalacylic acid
Naproxen or Naproxen Sodium
There are also many prescription NSAIDS, including drugs such as Celebrex. When a doctor prescribes anything for pain or inflammation, always be sure to ask whether it's an NSAID.
Remember, never take more than one NSAID at a time. If you take a Motrin and it doesn't work, you can add some Tylenol, but no Alleve or aspirin.
Acetamenophen: This is sold as Tylenol or various other names. Again, check the label for active ingredients. Some "headache," "sinus" or other special preparations may contain both acetamenophen and an NSAID. Acetamenophen nearly as effective as NSAIDS, however does not provide the anti-inflammatory component so may not work as well for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Fortunately for us, most of our UC meds have an anti-inflammatory effect.
One fact many people don't know: acetamenophen takes longer to act than NSAIDS, 40-60 minutes as opposed to 20-30. This may be why it's often seen as less effective. Give it a chance, it often will help.
There are a host of other medication types that may be prescribed for pain, however these are the most-often used.
If one of our members is sure of British/European/non-US names for these medications, please add them for us. Thanks!
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroid therapy.
Colazal, Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.