What is analgesic medicine and how are they classified?

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5 min readSep 16, 2021


Drugs that treat pain selectively without stopping nerve impulse transmission, modifying sensory experience, or altering consciousness; analgesics. Analgesics and anesthetics differ in their selectivity, and this makes a big difference.

It is possible to classify analgesics into two categories:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines, which reduce local inflammatory reactions, and opioids, which operate on the brain, are two types of painkillers. Because of their ability to induce sleep, opioid analgesics were traditionally referred to as narcotic medications.
  • To relieve severe pain, either temporarily or permanently, opioid analgesics can be prescribed. For their part, analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs are used for short-term alleviation of mild pain such as a headache or minor injuries such as bruising or arthritis.

Analgesic other than NSAID:

Most anti-inflammatories are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs for short.

Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) block the formation of prostaglandins, a group of molecules that contribute to inflammation and are responsible for symptoms such as fever and discomfort.

In contrast to other anti-inflammatories, NSAIDs have no immunosuppressive properties.


Cyclooxygenase converts arachidonic acid into prostaglandins (COX)


Arachidonic acid can be converted to prostaglandin H2, PGH2, in several ways.

Tissues, where they perform a variety of activities based on their isoforms.

For example, physiological prostaglandins regulate temperature, bronchial tone, uterine tone, and the mucosal barrier in the stomach.

Constantly balancing the effects of some prostaglandins is a challenge.

The platelet TXA2 constricts blood vessels and promotes platelet aggregation, while endothelial PGI2 dilates blood vessels and inhibits platelet aggregation

They function together to engage with each other when the platelets are activated and the blood vessel wall is involved.

Prostaglandin levels are normally quite low in the body, but they skyrocket in response to acute inflammation, with PGE2 playing a key role in the majority of the symptoms.

COX-1 and COX-2 are the two COX enzymes that have been identified.

COX-1 is the principal source of physiological prostaglandins and is expressed constitutively in most cells.

COX-2 is the primary generator of inflammatory prostaglandins and is preferentially generated by inflammatory stimuli.

COX-2, on the other hand, has physiological activities in some tissues.

COX-2 selective NSAIDs inhibit just COX-2, while non-selective NSAIDs inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 with varying degrees of efficacy.

Except for aspirin, all non-selective NSAIDs are reversible COX inhibitors.

They compete with arachidonic acid for the enzyme’s binding.

COX enzymes, on the other hand, are covalently modified and permanently destroyed by aspirin.

Aspirin’s irreversible impact is particularly noticeable in blood platelets, which lack a nucleus and thus are unable to generate new enzymes.

When the enzyme is inactivated by aspirin, no TXA2 is produced, and hence no platelet aggregation occurs for the rest of the platelet’s life.

Aspirin stands out as a powerful anti-thrombotic agent because of this.

Because it reduces the risk of blood clot formation, aspirin is routinely prescribed to prevent heart attacks and ischemic strokes.

Because aspirin competes with nonselective NSAIDs for the same binding location on the platelet’s COX-1, it should not be used with them.

When used in patients with a bleeding risk or hemorrhagic illnesses, aspirin, which is anti-thrombotic, prolongs bleeding and is therefore contraindicated.”

Reye’s syndrome is also linked to aspirin.

As a result of COX-1-dependent prostaglandins, the stomach lining is protected.

Gastric discomfort, peptic ulcer disease, and intestinal hemorrhage are all possible side effects of non-selective NSAIDs.

Although the newer COX-2-specific NSAIDs, known as coxibs, are supposed to lessen this stomach-related toxicity, their usage is contentious, as they appear to raise the risk of cardiovascular occlusive disease.

Some believe that coxibs are vasodilators because they specifically inhibit COX-2-dependent PGI2.

while not affect COX-1-dependent TXA2, which is pro-thrombotic, it is also anti-thrombotic.

in addition to being vasoconstrictive, it can cause blood clot formation.

vasodilation and formation

In addition, some non-selective NSAIDs have varying degrees of cardiovascular damage, depending on their COX-2 versus COX-1 inhibition ratio.

Hypertension, edema, and pre-existing heart failure may be worsened if NSAIDs inhibit physiological vasodilatory prostaglandins.

Impaired renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate may result from the inhibition of renal vasodilatory prostaglandins in the context of circulatory stress.


  • Synthetic or natural opioids or opium poppy-derived compounds since the poppy was first cultivated in Mesopotamia, it has been used in every major culture from Asia and Europe to relieve pain. Oxycodone morphine Veneto methadone and morphine are powerful opioids; codeine and dihydrocodeine are mild opioids. The strongest opioids maybe ten times more potent than the weakest.
  • The treatment of severe pain around the world the death toll from opioid overdoses is estimated at 69, 000 a year, with 15 million people suffering from opioid addiction. The use of excessive amounts of opioids can cause an overdose, which can lead to breathing problems and death. When a person abuses opioids to the detriment of their bodily, psychological, and social functions, this is called opioid addiction.
  • And if opioids are used routinely, physical dependence develops, resulting in withdrawal symptoms, including strong cravings.
  • Anxiety & Muscle Cramping neuropathic pain and receptors pain are well managed with opioids.
  • It is caused by nerve damage from trauma, cancer, or neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and causes discomfort in the body. No one can see anything but the agony in the second sort of ailment.
  • This is pain caused by tissue injury and inflammation, such as toothaches, sunburn, and rheumatoid arthritis. Opioids provide pain-relieving effects such as pain suppression, sleepiness, and euphoria. It boosts the release of dopamine neurons in the brain’s reward centers, which regulate emotions of pleasure
  • The Speed and intensity of the drug's effect depend on how the drug is taken; if taken orally, the effects are gradual and felt in 10 to 20 minutes; if it is administered intravenously, the effects are more intense and felt in about one minute for chronic pain treatment is roughly 200 milligrams every day.

Moreover, opioid users can acquire tolerance, which is a decline in sensitivity to opioids after repeated use, which means greater dosages are needed to achieve the same level of pain relief.



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