Oral Medications for Chronic Pain: A Complete Overview

Medications Chronic

Overview of Oral Medications for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects many people and can severely limit daily activities. Oral medications may be prescribed to treat this type of pain. It is important to understand the types of medications available, their side effects and potential interactions. With a better understanding, individuals can work with their doctor to choose the most suitable option for their situation.

Types of Oral Medications for Chronic Pain

There are a variety of oral medications available to manage chronic pain, including:

  • opioids, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, or fentanyl (Actiq®)
  • non-opioid medications, such as ibuprofen (Motrin®), acetaminophen (Tylenol®), meloxicam (Mobic®)
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as aspirin, naproxen (Aleve®), celecoxib (Celebrex®)
  • antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil®), duloxetine (Cymbalta®), venlafaxine (Effexor®)
  • anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin (Neurontin®) and pregabalin (Lyrica®)

Each of these medications can help reduce pain levels, but they vary in their effectiveness. It is best to discuss the options with your physician to determine the best option for you.

Side Effects and Potential Interactions of Oral Medications for Chronic Pain

Opioid medications can be extremely effective for pain relief but can also cause side effects such as constipation, nausea, drowsiness and confusion. Additionally, opioids are highly addictive, so they should be used with caution.

Non-opioid medications can also cause side effects, such as stomach ulcers, kidney damage, and liver damage. NSAIDs can also interact with other medications and need to be used with caution.

Antidepressants are typically used to treat depression and can also be used to manage pain. Possible side effects include drowsiness, increased appetite, and constipation.

Anticonvulsants may be used to treat seizures, but they can also help manage chronic pain. Potential side effects include dizziness, fatigue, and constipation.

It is important to discuss potential side effects, interactions, and risks associated with each medication before starting treatment.


Oral medications are a common treatment for chronic pain. It is important to understand the types of medications available and their potential side effects, interactions, and risks before starting treatment. By working closely with a physician, individuals can find the most suitable treatment for their chronic pain.

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