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noun, plural: analgesics

(pharmacology) A drug used to relieve pain without causing loss of consciousness; the anodyne properties of certain drugs


Of, pertaining to, or relating to analgesia


Analgesics are drugs that are capable of alleviating pain but not causing loss of consciousness. They are capable of relieving pain by acting on the nervous system. Paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a major group of analgesics capable of producing analgesic effects as well as antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects. The mechanism of action of these drugs appears to be on the central nervous system. They are capable of inhibiting cyclooxygenases and thereby decrease the production of prostaglandin. Cyclooxygenase enzyme (COX) inhibitors such as etoricoxib, celecoxib, and rofecoxib are another major analgesics manufactured in order to target COX2 enxyme specifically. NSAIDs tend to act on both COX1 and COX2. The inhibition of COX1 results in unwarranted effects. Therefore, COX2 inhibitors are made in order produce analgesic effects while circumventing certain adverse effects. Other major analgesics are the opioids. The opioids (e.g. morphine) are often used for pain relief, including anesthesia.

Word origin: Greek an- (without) + algesis (sense of pain), algos (pain)


  • painkiller


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