We’re offered a plethora of choices in the pharmacy - but are we guilty of taking painkillers we don’t really need, without knowing the true impact and effects they can have on our bodies?
Last year Brits spent £570 million on common painkillers - that’s almost 400 pills each per year. From paracetamol to aspirin, codeine to Ibuprofen, Dr Chris is here with his all-important guide, encouraging us to ask more questions about the pills we’re popping.
Know your painkillers
DR CHRIS SAYS: “There are two main groups of painkillers - opioids and non-opioids - and these are prescribed depending on the type and level of pain.” Opioids are commonly prescribed for more acute, severe pain, and include drugs such as morphine, codeine, endone and oxycodone. In contrast, non-opioids are more commonly used to treat mild to moderate pain, and the two leading types of non-opioids are paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
How do painkillers work?
When part of your body is injured, special nerve endings send pain messages back to your brain. Painkilling drugs interfere with these messages, either at the site of the injury, in the spinal cord or in the brain itself
What should your first choice be?
Dr Chris says paracetamol should be the first choice painkiller for most people.
DR CHRIS SAYS:"Paracetamol is the most popular and safest painkiller. It is gentler on the stomach and is an effective painkiller, so should always be considered first of all. The only danger with taking paracetamol is if you are taking other medications containing paracetamol - you don’t want to be doubling up on doses.”