Analgesics are medicines which are used to treat pain. The most commonly used analgesic medicine is acetaminophen, which is available over the counter. Following are some of the common analgesics:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Tramadol
  • Codeine
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone

Uses of Analgesics

Analgesics are commonly used to relieve pain. Doctors usually prescribe analgesics to relieve pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Usually, analgesics are advised during flare-ups. They are generally used as a temporary method of pain relief. Analgesics are sometimes also prescribed to the patients who are not able to bear the adverse effects of NSAIDs. They can only reduce the pain; they do not stop the disease progression. They cannot be used alone to treat arthritis.

Mechanism of Action of Analgesics

When a person suffers pain, the analgesics inhibit the signals between the nerve endings and the brain to decreases the sensation of pain.

Narcotic analgesics or opioids act by attaching themselves to receptors in the brain cells that modulate the signals released to the brain. This results in diminished pain.

What Are the Major Side Effects Caused by Analgesics?

The common side effects of analgesics include

  • upset stomach
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • fluid retention

Other major side effects include

  • increased risk of heart attack or stroke
  • kidney problems

Narcotic analgesics or Opioids have much more serious side effects compared to acetaminophen. Opioids, when taken in high doses, can slow down the breathing and heart rate that can result in death. The pleasure sensation associated with the use of opioids can cause addiction.

How Is GLME Better than Analgesics for the Management of Arthritis?

  • GLME does not cause any adverse side effects even at high doses while analgesics at high doses can cause serious side effects.
  • GLME does not cause addiction while opioids & analgesics can be addictive.
  • GLME does not interact with other medicines while the analgesics can interact with other medicines and can cause undesirable side-effects.
  • GLME has benefits in the management of arthritis, such as:
    • Improves joint lubrication
    • Prevents cartilage deterioration
    • Promotes repair of damaged cartilage
    • Improves mobility and range of motion of the affected joint
    • Gastro-protective i.e. it protects the stomach lining
    • It appears to impact on the inflammatory process of arthritis via multiple mechanisms thereby reducing pain, stiffness, and inflammation
  • The analgesics only relieve the pain, but not the inflammation caused due to arthritis.
  • GLME provides progressive and probably permanent benefits while the analgesics provide only temporary relief from pain. Analgesics may need to be taken at regular intervals to control pain.