analgesic

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analgesic

analgesic (ănˌəljēˈzĭk), any of a diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain. Analgesic drugs include the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as the salicylates, acetaminophen, narcotic drugs such as morphine, and synthetic drugs with morphinelike action such as meperidine (Demerol) and propoxyphene (Darvon). Aspirin and other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen and naproxen) reduce fever and inflammation as well as relieve pain. Narcotic analgesics and the morphinelike synthetic drugs depress the central nervous system and alter the perception of pain. They are used to alleviate pain not relieved by the NSAIDs. NSAIDs and other analgesics are also used in combination, as in Tylenol with codeine and Darvocet (Darvon and acetaminophen). Recently, patient-controlled analgesic techniques have been introduced, in which patients have the option of injecting small quantities of narcotic type analgesics to control their own pain. Microprocessor-controlled injections may be made through intravenous catheters, or through a catheter into the epidural (covering of the spinal cord) area. In addition to analgesic drugs, various techniques, such as acupuncture, hypnosis (see hypnotism), and biofeedback, are used to alleviate pain.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Analgesic

 

a medicinal substance that relieves pain. Analgesics are a structurally varied group of medicines. Narcotic analgesics (seeNARCOTIC) are distinguished from nonnarcotic analgesics. The latter group comprises derivatives of salicylic acid, pyrazolone, aniline, and indole; in addition to being analgesics, these derivatives are antipyretics and anti-inflammatories. Amidopyrine, analgin, butadion, phenacetin, acetyl-salicylic acid, and other similar preparations are used for musculoarticulatory pains, neuralgias, headaches, and toothaches, but they are only mildly effective against acute pain caused by traumas or spasms in the smooth musculature.

Analgesics alter the body’s sensitivity to pain by predominantly affecting brain centers and/or the pituitary-adrenal system. Nonnarcotic analgesics, in contrast to narcotic analgesics, anesthetizing remedies, and anesthetics (seeANESTHETIC), do not influence any senses other than touch and do not affect mental functioning or the coughing and respiratory centers. Furthermore, nonnarcotic anesthetics are not somnifacient or addictive. (SeeANTIPYRETICS.)

REFERENCES

Zakusov, V. V. Farmakologiia nervnoi sistemy. Moscow, 1953.
Zakusov, V. V. Farmakologiia. Moscow, 1966.
Mashkovskii, M. D. Lekarstvennye sredstva, part 1. Moscow, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

analgesic

[‚an·əl′jēz·ik]
(pharmacology)
Any drug, such as salicylates, morphine, or opiates, used primarily for the relief of pain.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

analgesic

1. of or causing analgesia
2. a substance that produces analgesia
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005