Treatment Guidelines from The Medical Letter
Drugs for Pain
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Updated March 2012

Pain can be acute or chronic. Chronic pain has been broadly classified into two types: nociceptive and neuropathic. Nociceptive pain can be treated with nonopioid analgesics or opioids. Neuropathic pain is less responsive to opioids; adjuvant medicines such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants are often used to treat neuropathic pain. Combining different types of analgesics may provide an additive analgesic effect without increasing adverse effects.


The maximum analgesic effect of acetaminophen and aspirin usually occurs with single doses between 650 and 1300 mg. With nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) other than aspirin, the analgesic ceiling may be higher. Tolerance does not develop to the analgesic effects of these drugs.

SALICYLATES — Aspirin is effective for most types of mild to moderate pain, but its principal use now is in low doses as a platelet ... more      

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