Which painkiller?

which painkiller

Painkillers are not the best solutions to treat health problems, but sometimes we have to take painkillers to relieve the pain temporally, so that we can carry on our work and life. So you may want to know which painkiller to choose before heading to medical professionals for real solutions.  

This post covers some common painkillers’ indications and precautions. The sources of the information are National Health Service (NHS) and WebMD.


Paracetamol is used to treat headaches and most non-nerve pains.

Overdosing on paracetamol can cause serious side effects, however, so don’t be tempted to increase the dose if your pain is severe.


So-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen, seem to work better when there is clear evidence of an inflammatory cause, such as arthritis or an injury.

If you take them for long periods, there’s an increased risk of stomach upset, including bleeding, and kidney and heart problems.


Aspirin is another type of NSAID. It produces the same kind of side effects as other NSAIDs, but is not as effective as a painkiller, which means it’s not usually prescribed for pain.

It is dangerous for children under 16.


Codeine doesn’t work very well on its own. It works better when combined with paracetamol in a single pill.

Codeine and other medium-strength prescribed painkillers can cause dependency, which means that when you stop taking them you may feel unwell for a short period.

Soluble painkillers

Effervescent painkillers are high in salt, containing up to 1g per tablet.

Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and stroke.

Amitriptyline and gabapentin

Amitriptyline is a drug for depression and gabapentin is a drug for epilepsy. You don’t have to have depression or epilepsy for these tablets to help your nerve pain.

Each of these medicines can also be used to treat pain caused by nerve sensitivity or nerve damage, such as shingles, diabetes nerve pain and sciatica.

Side effects include drowsiness and dizziness.


Morphine and morphine-like drugs (such as oxycodone, fentanyl and buprenorphine) are the strongest painkillers, and should only be used for severe pain.

They will only be prescribed after consultation with your GP or a pain specialist. The dose and your response will be closely monitored. These drugs should only be used as part of a long-term plan to manage your pain.


Tramadol is used to help relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. Tramadol is similar to opioid (narcotic) analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.

Tramadol may cause withdrawal reactions (such as restlessness, watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating, muscle aches) if you suddenly stop using this medication when it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses.

Painkillers are usually temporary solutions, to treat the root of your health problems, please click here to get in touch.