The Analgesic reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Analgesic

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Analgesic is a collective term for any member of the diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain. Analgesic drugs include the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as the salicylates, narcotic drugs such as morphine, and synthetic drugs with narcotic properties such as tramadol. Other classes of drugs not normally considered analgesics are used to treat neuropathic pain syndromes; these include tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants.

NSAIDs such as aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen not only relieve pain but also reduce fever and inflammation. Narcotic analgesics such as opiates and opioids depress the central nervous system and alter the perception of pain (nociception). They are used to alleviate pain not relieved by the NSAIDs.

Analgesics are frequently used in combination, such as the paracetamol (acetaminophen) and codeine preparations found in many non-prescription pain relievers. They can also be found in combination with vasoconstrictor drugs such as pseudoephedrine for sinus-related preparations, or with antihistamine drugs for allergy sufferers.

In the United States in recent years, there has been a wave of new addictions to prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin.

The U.S. Government is now taking steps to reverse this epidemic, which it has blamed on easy access to prescription drugs over the Internet.