Close look on prescription pain medications

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For certain types of pain in which over-the-counter medications do not work, the doctor might recommend prescription pain medications that provides a stronger form of pain relief. A doctor should be consulted regarding other medications used including any supplements since they might interact with these prescription pain medications.


Even though anticonvulsants are generally utilized to manage seizures, they have also been effective in managing pain particularly those triggered by nerve damage. It is believed that these medications work by minimizing the ability of the nerves particularly the damaged nerves to send off pain signals.

Most anticonvulsants are well-tolerated, but carbamazepine can lead to serious side effects including allergic reactions or liver issues. In addition, it is also teratogenic and not given to pregnant women.

Pain medications
Anti-migraine medications are ideally used for managing migraines but the pain can be aborted if the medication is utilized at the onset of the symptoms.


Corticosteroids work by minimizing the inflammation and given in low doses to reduce the risk of adverse effects. The prescription pain medications can be taken orally, by injection, as a topical cream or with an inhaler.

Anti-migraine medications

There are 3 forms of medications given for migraines – ergots, triptans and isometheptene which are abortive medications because if taken early, can prevent a migraine attack or drastically reduce the associated pain.

These are ideally used for managing migraines but the pain can be aborted if the medication is utilized at the onset of the symptoms.

Just remember though that triptans have been linked to serious adverse effects including stroke and heart attack. Additionally, they poorly interact with other medications.


These medications work by changing the effects and levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. There are 3 major forms of antidepressants – selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclics. The tricyclics are typically prescribed for pain.

Most of the antidepressants usually take several days or weeks to become effective. Due to this, they are prescribed with another pain medication such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The dosage used to manage pain are often lower than those used to treat depression.

COX-2 inhibitors

These are categorized as NSAIDs that are not likely to trigger digestive upset than the other forms such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. The COX-2 inhibitors work by blocking the release of cyclo-oxygenase-2 which is an enzyme that triggers pain and inflammation.


Opioids were originally derived from the poppy plant. At the present, these medications are available in both synthetic or organic forms. Some are even mixed with other pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Since opioids are narcotics with sedating effects, they are oftentimes given with stimulants.

Due to their potential to become addictive, they are only used as directed for a short period of time to minimize this risk. The detrimental effects might include nausea, constipation, breathing issues and drowsiness.

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