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Painkillers (analgesics)

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You can take paracetamol for mild to moderate pain, headaches and muscular pains, and to reduce a fever. If your pain is caused by osteoarthritis, it’s usually the first treatment recommended.

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Compound analgesics

Compound analgesics are a combination of two different drugs in one tablet, usually including paracetamol, aspirin, codeine and dihydrocodeine. They're used for mild to moderate pain. Examples include:

  • co-codamol
  • co-codaprin
  • co-dydramol.
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Opioid analgesics

Opioid analgesics are the strongest types of painkiller. They're used for moderate to severe pain and can be taken alongside non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for severe pain. They have more side-effects than simple analgesics and are only available on prescription. Example include:

  • codeine
  • fentanyl 
  • morphine.
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