This blog is going to talk about the most appropriate painkiller dosage for different conditions, how the different medications work, and how to take them safely and for the best results. The best painkiller dosage for you will depend on which type of medication you are taking and what you are taking it for. So, first off, lets discuss the different types of medication available.
Analgesics have been used for an extensive period and their use is not slowing down. The development of different medications has become much safer and there are rigorous tests that must take place before a drug is approved for use. The different categories of analgesics appear in the top 10 used medications globally, multiple times. Your painkiller dosage will depend on what class of analgesic you are using, and even what type.
The strongest type of medication available are opioids such as tramadol, tapentadol, and codeine. Compound analgesics are dual-action medications that have more than one active ingredient, such as co-codamol which contains codeine and paracetamol. Paracetamol is not an opioid, but a simple non-opioid analgesic. Medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin belong to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) group. And finally, medications including gabapentin, pregabalin, and amitriptyline, are often used for types of neuropathic pain.
A painkiller dosage is the amount of medication you take to treat your symptoms, and as we mentioned, this will vary depending on the type of medication used. It will also vary depending on what you are using it for, and the frequency and severity of your symptoms, but we will discuss this more in the next section. If you are taking more than one different type of painkiller dosage, it may be useful to take one and wait for two hours so that you have consistent levels of relief. Most painkiller dosages have an interval of 4 to 6 hours, so this will work for different types of medications.
For simple non-opioid analgesics such as paracetamol, the painkiller dosage is usually two 500mg tablets, taken every 4 to 6 hours. It is possible to take other types of medication alongside each analgesic, but you have to make sure that they are not within the same class as this can be dangerous. For example, you could take an NSAID at the same time as a simple non-opioid analgesic as they do not interact with each other. Though you should not take more than one NSAID at once, or any other class of medication.
Your painkiller dosage will be used to manage the symptoms of pain, of which there are two main types. Acute pain is pain that lasts for less than 3 months, and it is a result of damage to the body and information telling your brain that something is not right. Acute pain is usually caused by injury or surgery, and it can also be external or internal. External pain could be caused by a cut or burn for example, and internal pain could be caused by an infection, such as a kidney infection, or by a broken bone. As acute pain is usually on the more severe end in terms of symptoms, people often need a higher painkiller dosage to manage their pain.
Chronic pain lasts for longer than 3 months and is usually caused by a long-term health condition but can also sometimes be caused by the lasting effects of an acute injury. Some people will have flareups and their symptoms will vary in severity, which means that their painkiller dosage may change depending on how they are feeling. Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes pain and requires ongoing medical treatment to manage the symptoms. NSAIDs, opioids, and compound analgesics are usually used for arthritis.
Another example of a chronic condition that causes long-term pain is peripheral neuropathy, which is caused by nerve damage and can be managed by medications such as gabapentin and amitriptyline. When left untreated, pain can creep into every aspect of our lives and severely affect our overall well-being. This can have a detrimental effect on our physical and mental health, work performance, and relationships. Finding a painkiller dosage that works for you can help you manage your symptoms effectively.
We are now going to explain how a painkiller dosage works, as in each mechanism of action. The mechanism of action of each analgesic depends on the chemistry of the active ingredient. Paracetamol, the simple non-opioid analgesic, works by targeting something called prostaglandins which are hormone-like lipid substances that are produced in response to tissue damage and inflammation. When the concentration of prostaglandins is increased, nerve sensitivity is increased and therefore the perception of pain. When the active ingredient in paracetamol inhibits the production of prostaglandins, the perception of pain and nerve sensitivity is reduced.
If the painkiller dosage you are taking belongs to the class of opioids, then these have completely different mechanisms of action. Opioids such as codeine and tramadol target opioid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Although opioids have been used for so long, it is not fully understood how they work.
External or synthetic opioids from your painkiller dosage work in the same way as internal opioids such as endorphins. When the active ingredient binds to the opioid receptors, their activity is increased and the levels of some neurotransmitters including noradrenaline, acetylcholine, and dopamine, are altered. This altered concentration of neurotransmitters causes an interruption of pain signals, thereby reducing the sensation of pain.
Compound analgesics such as co-codamol have two active ingredients which target two different areas of the body. The codeine in co-codamol targets opioid receptors and the paracetamol targets prostaglandins. Using a dual-action medication increases the potency and therefore the effectiveness of the treatment.
The most appropriate painkiller dosage for you will depend on the type of medication you are using, what you are using it for, and your age among other things. Some typical painkiller dosages in terms of strength include the following:
Codeine is available in 15mg, 30mg, and 60mg tablets. They can be taken up to 4 times per day, making sure to leave a gap of 4 to 6 hours between each dose. As opioids cause an increase in tolerance, it is always best to start on the lowest possible painkiller dosage and increase until your symptoms are effectively managed.
Young adults and elderly people should take a reduced painkiller dosage as their bodies can be more sensitive to medications. If you are unsure what painkiller dosage you should be taking, you should always ask a qualified health professional.
Painkiller dosage instructions will usually be written on the pack or found on the patient information leaflet. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to get the best results from your treatment and to take your medication safely. If your painkiller dosage is in the form of hard tablets, you should swallow them whole with a full glass of water. Most analgesics start to work after around half an hour.
As we mentioned earlier, opioids increase tolerance and they can also cause physical dependence, which means they should be used as a short-term treatment option. If you have used them long-term, you should gradually taper off them to reduce the potential for experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
There are also other techniques that you can try to manage your symptoms alongside medication. Physiotherapy can help with musculoskeletal pain, as can light exercise. Some people find acupuncture is useful for their pain, particularly inflammation and internal pain. Talking therapies can also help people deal with the psychological difficulties caused by chronic pain.
The standard painkiller dosage for each type of analgesic is safe for most people. Analgesics that are available as treatments have been approved by relevant healthcare regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order to be approved by the FDA, pharmaceutical companies must prove the safety and efficacy of a new medication by undertaking clinical trials.
There are, however, some people who will need to avoid analgesics. Speak to your GP if any of the following apply to you before you start treatment:
When you can effectively treat your symptoms of pain or the underlying cause of your pain, then you will be better equipped to deal with your problems and get on with the things that are important to you. If you want more information about painkiller dosage or types of analgesics, visit www.stretta-therapy.com.