Analgesics safe in pregnancy

Analgesics (painkillers) - Drug Prevention & Alcohol Facts

June 12, 2014 – 06:25 pm

Pregnancy | MedCity News

What are analgesics?

Effects of analgesics

Getting help

Non-medical analgesic use in Australia

What are analgesics?

Analgesics, also known as "painkillers", are medicines which relieve pain. Most analgesics are safe to use when taken as prescribed or instructed by your doctor or pharmacist, in conjunction with the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging. Some extra precautions may apply to patients with pre-existing medical conditions such as kidney failure or gastric ulcers.

This page outlines some commonly used over-the-counter analgesics, including what they are used for, possible side effects and risks associated with using them outside the directions on the packet. The painkillers covered are:

  • aspirin
  • codeine (in combination products)
  • ibuprofen
  • paracetamol.

Other names

Analgesics are known by their chemical (generic) names and their brand or trade names. Some common examples include:

Generic name
Brand names Aspirin Aspro Clear®, Disprin® Aspirin and codeineAspalgin®, Codral Cold & Flu Original®Ibuprofen Brufen®, Nurofen® Ibuprofen and codeine Nurofen Plus® ParacetamolDymadon®, Lemsip®, Panadol®, Panamax®, Tylenol®Paracetamol and codeinePanadeine Forte®, Panamax Co®Paracetamol, codeine and doxylamineMersyndol® and Mersyndol Forte®, Panalgesic®

What do they look like?

Analgesics are available in many forms. These include tablets, capsules, suppositories, soluble powders and liquids.

How are analgesics used?

Analgesics are generally swallowed, and their intended purpose is to relieve pain. Some can also be used to reduce fever, help relieve the symptoms of cold and ’flu, reduce inflammation and swelling, control diarrhoea, and suppress coughs.

Some people misuse analgesics by intentionally taking more than the recommended dose, in a mistaken attempt to increase the effects, to get 'high', or as an act of self-harm.

Effects of analgesics

The effects of any drug vary from person to person. How analgesics affect a person depends on many things including their size, weight and health, also whether the person is used to taking it. The effects of analgesics, as with any drug, also depend on the amount taken.

There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk—even medications can produce unwanted side effects. It is important to be careful when taking any type of drug.

Read about the effects of individual analgesics:

Long-term effects

Long-term use of analgesics can lead to a psychological dependence. People who are dependent on analgesics find that using the drug becomes far more important than other activities in their life. They crave the drug and find it very difficult to stop using it.


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