Common categories of pain medications

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​​Over the following pages, you will find more information about some of the most common pain medications. These are grouped into the broad categories of:

  • over-the-counter medications
  • prescription medications
  • interventional procedures.

Over-the-counter pain medications

Over-the-counter medications are those you can buy at the store without a prescription.

Examples include:

  • acetaminophen
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs or ‘anti-inflammatories’ for short)
  • topical analgesics (pain relievers).

Prescription pain medications

Prescription medications are medications that need to be prescribed to you by your healthcare provider. Examples include:

  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • anxiolytics
  • anticonvulsants
  • corticosteroids
  • muscle relaxants
  • cannabinoids
  • opioids, such as tramadol and morphine
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Interventional procedures

Interventional procedures​ are invasive procedures (they deliver treatment under the skin) and are performed by a healthcare provider. Common examples include:

  • botulinum toxin
  • trigger point injection
  • intra-articular injection
  • epidural steroid injection
  • nerve ablation.
Last updated: May 2nd 2016