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How do pain killers work?

Painkillers, also known as analgesics, work by blocking the transmission of pain signals from the site of injury or inflammation to the brain. There are different types of painkillers that work in different ways, but most of them target the nervous system to reduce pain.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen work by blocking the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which is involved in the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals that promote inflammation and sensitization of pain receptors. By blocking COX and reducing prostaglandin production, NSAIDs help to reduce inflammation and pain.


Opioids such as morphine and oxycodone work by binding to specific receptors in the nervous system called opioid receptors. This binding inhibits the transmission of pain signals and produces a sense of euphoria or relaxation. Opioids can be very effective for managing severe pain, but they can also be addictive and have other serious side effects.

There are also other types of painkillers that work by affecting other pathways in the nervous system, such as local anesthetics that block nerve impulses in a specific area, and antidepressants that can help to reduce chronic pain. It's important to use painkillers only as directed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional, as misuse or overuse can have serious health consequences.




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