Analgesic is that linked to analgesia: the absence or elimination of pain. The substances that cause this analgesia are called painkillers.
Thus, when a person talks about pain relievers, it is likely that they are referring to a drug intended to mitigate a painful sensation in the body. Painkillers are indicated by doctors to ease body pain (in muscles, bones, etc.).
The best-known pain reliever is aspirin. In addition to relieving pain, this pain reliever is anti-inflammatory (reduces or eliminates inflammation) and antipyretic (reduces fever). This means that a wide variety of medical conditions and minor health disorders can be treated with aspirin.
The morphine is an analgesic. Unlike aspirin, which is available over the counter, the supply of morphine is regulated as it is a drug that causes addiction. Due to its powerful analgesic action, morphine is usually prescribed after surgery or in the treatment of cancer.
It is important to note that all pain relievers have contraindications and can cause adverse effects. Aspirin, for example, can lead to intestinal problems, including ulcers. As it is a platelet antiplatelet, it helps fight the development of blood clots in the veins and arteries but, for the same reason, it can cause bleeding.
Beyond these issues, paying attention to the leaflets and consulting a medical specialist, painkillers are beneficial to combat everyday discomforts such as muscle pain or headache.
Specific harm from pain reliever abuse
Medicine has very clearly defined the damage that painkiller abuse can cause to every part of our body. Let’s see below the most important cases.
Drugs such as opiates can suppress our ability to breathe, and thus interfere with the proper function of the lungs. For this reason, it is considered that there is a direct relationship between the abuse of these painkillers and pneumonia.
Inhaling certain opiates, such as hydrocodone or oxycodone, on the other hand, can lead to fluid accumulating in the lungs, leading to particular difficulty in breathing.
Pain reliever abuse can also affect the gastrointestinal system. For opiates, even a moderate dose can lead to constipation. When a person increases the dose far beyond the recommended values, it is common for them to become dependent on laxatives to stimulate bowel movement, and this can lead to damage to the sphincter or anus, such as painful fissures.
As can be seen, it is not always the action of the painkiller that is consumed in excess that affects us directly, but in some cases the greatest damage begins with the measures we must take to counteract its effects.
Consuming pain relievers in too high amounts also puts the integrity of the liver at risk, since any drug must be broken down and processed by this organ. Stress on the liver from excess pain relievers can lead to toxin storage.
The paracetamol found in many of the painkillers is the cause of the worst damage to the liver: the abuse of Lortab, Percocet and Vicodin pills, to name a few of the drugs in which it occurs in high concentrations, can lead to liver failure.
In summary, we should not underestimate the consequences of pain reliever abuse, as in some cases this behavior can be fatal. It is important, therefore, to follow the indications of the doctors and always contrast them with those present in the package leaflets of the medications.