How Do NSAID/Opioid Combo Analgesics Work?

Reviewed on 6/23/2021

How do NSAID/opioid combo analgesics work?

NSAID/opioid combo analgesics are systemic medications prescribed for short-term management of moderate to severe pain. A combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids is more effective than a single drug in managing acute and severe pain, because each medication works in a different way to control pain.

NSAIDs control inflammation by inhibiting the activity of enzymes known as cyclooxygenases (COX-1 and COX-2) essential for the biosynthesis of prostaglandin. Prostaglandin is a fatty compound that plays an important role in initiating inflammation which results in pain and other symptoms.

Opioids block the transmission of pain perception in the brain by binding to opiate receptors. Opiate receptors are protein molecules on nerve cell (neuron) membranes in the brain. Modulating sensory perception is one of the functions of opiate receptors. Opioid drugs have a high risk for addiction.

Opioids may also be combined with aspirin in some drug formulations. Aspirin works on the hypothalamus region of the brain to reduce fever and relieve pain.

How are NSAID/opioid combo analgesics used?

NSAID/opioid combo analgesics are oral tablets prescribed for short periods to manage acute, moderate to severe pain. NSAID/opioid combos are not recommended for patients with kidney impairment. Caution should be exercised to avoid opioid overdose, which can have severe consequences.

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What are side effects of NSAID/opioid combo analgesics?

Side effects of NSAID/opioid combo analgesics may include the following:

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are names of some NSAID/opioid combo analgesic drugs?

Generic and brand name of NSAID/opioid combo analgesic drugs include:

References
https://reference.medscape.com/drugs/analgesics-nsaid-opioid-combos

https://biologydictionary.net/cholinergic/

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