Pain Relief Medicine

Pain, whether acute or chronic, is often treated with pain relief medicine. Some of these pain medicines are over-the-counter (OTC) while others are prescribed by a medical professional. No matter the type of pain reliever, each is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And each come with their own warning label explaining the risks associated with taking them. It is important to point out that many households have a variety of pain relief medications, varying in strength, to combat many types of pain including simple muscle aches, headaches, and other temporary discomforts. To treat more severe, and/or chronic conditions, these households may also have various prescription-based opioids and non-opioid medications in their medicine cabinet or on their nightstand. With this much pain relief medicine available every day in the home one could become nonchalant or even careless in their misuse, elevating their risk factors.

OTC Medicine

“Use as directed” are three of the most important words when speaking about pain relief medication, prescribed or OTC. Many people take it for granted that Over the Counter medicine is harmless since it didn’t come in a prescription bag. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

OTC medicine relieves many minor aches and pains like headaches, fever, toothaches, arthritis, colds, flu, and menstrual cramps. Essentially there are two types of OTC pain relievers: acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Acetaminophen is found in over 600 OTC and prescription medicines such as pain relievers and cough/cold medicines. NSAID’s relieve minor aches and pains and fever such as Ibuprofen, aspirin, and allergy medication.

Pain medications are safe and effective when used as directed. However, misuse of these products can be extremely harmful and even deadly. Taking a higher dose of acetaminophen than recommended will not provide more relief and can be dangerous, leading to liver damage and even death. With children, infant drop medications can be significantly stronger than regular children’s medications so read and follow the label’s directions.

Taking too much NSAID’s, such as Ibuprofen, can cause stomach bleeding, kidney damage, can interact dangerously with other medications the patient is currently taking.

Prescription Medications

“Use as directed” are imperative words when dealing with prescription pain medications. Opioid medications such as morphine, oxycodone, codeine, and even hydrocodone may be FDA approved, however the FDA has recently notified makers of certain opioid drugs that these products will need to have a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) to ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh the risks. It should go without saying that any prescribed pain reliever’s usage should not only monitored by the patient but, made inaccessible to anyone else in the household especially children.

It’s important to follow your health care physician’s instructions carefully and to never change the dose of your pain relief medication without talking to your doctor first. Use of opioids can lead to drowsiness. Do not drive or use any machinery that may injure you, especially when you first start the medication. According to the National Institutes of Health, studies have shown that properly managed medical use of opioid analgesic compounds (taken exactly as prescribed) is safe, can manage pain effectively, and rarely causes addiction.

Three key steps in managing your prescribed pain relievers: Make sure you inform your doctor as to your history of any substance abuse. Follow directions carefully: Do not crush or break pills. This can alter the rate at which the medication is absorbed and lead to overdose and death. And finally, reduce the risk of drug interactions. Don’t mix opioids with alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines. These substances slow breathing and their combined effects could lead to life-threatening respiratory depression.
As always, if you have any questions about using OTC medicines or Prescribed medicines, talk with your pharmacist or your physician at Michigan Pain Consultants.

Contact Michigan Pain Consultants Today

Exciting medical breakthroughs occur each day and continue to keep Michigan Pain Consultants at the forefront of providing effective pain management programs in the West Michigan area.

Make an appointment for a new patient consultation with one of their board-certified pain physicians. All of Michigan Pain Consultant’s physicians are Board Certified in Anesthesiology or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and have advanced training and experience in Pain Medicine. You can begin first by visiting online at,, or by calling them at (800)281-3237.

With six locations throughout West Michigan, Michigan Pain Consultants comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to pain care offers patients and providers renewed hope for relief from chronic pain. Chronic pain should be treated like other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or congestive heart failure. Chronic pain requires chronic treatment. The goal of the treatment is to optimize the management of the pain, as opposed to curing the pain.