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Pain Medications for Palliative Care

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, one of the first things you may wonder about is pain. How much pain are you likely to be in? How will you cope with it? What can your doctors do about it?

The good news is that there is a lot that you and your doctors can do to keep pain at bay. You have multiple options, one of which is medication.

When it comes to medications for pain management, there are two broad categories: opioids, which dull pain systemically, throughout the body; and adjuvant analgesics, or helper medications that can target specific types of pain, often by fighting inflammation.


Opioid medications are available only by prescription. There are several opioid drugs that palliative care physicians most commonly prescribe for moderate to severe pain in the context of a serious, life-threatening illness. They are known as opioid analgesics

<5>Adjuvant Analgesics

One way to use opioids while minimizing side effects is to combine them with the broad category of adjuvant analgesics, or “helper medications.”

In addition to opioids, there are a number of other helper medications that palliative care specialists use to help control pain.

Read more details at WebMD .