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Simple non-opioid analgesics

Back to Painkillers (analgesics)

What are simple non-opioid analgesics?

Simple non-opioid analgesics are the most common form of analgesic, and the most common drug in this group is paracetamol.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen are sometimes included in this class of drugs.

What are they used for?

You can use simple non-opioid analgesics for mild to moderate pain caused by headaches, injuries and osteoarthritis, for example. You can also use them alongside stronger painkillers.

You shouldn’t use them at high doses for long-term pain.

Where do I get them from?

You can buy simple non-opioid analgesics over the counter at supermarkets and chemists, although you can only get some NSAIDs on prescription from your doctor.

Paracetamol and some NSAIDs are available as tablets, liquids, creams and gels, and suppositories.

What are the side-effects?

Paracetamol has few side-effects with short-term use. Long-term use may affect your cardiovascular system and kidneys.

NSAIDs can affect your stomach, cardiovascular system and kidneys. For more information, read What are the possible side-effects of NSAIDs?

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