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Non-opioid analgesics 

Non-opioid analgesics
Non-opioid analgesics

Per Sjøgren

, Frank Elsner

, and Stein Kaasa

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date: 05 July 2022

Non-opioid analgesics encompass the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and paracetamol (acetaminophen). The NSAIDs include acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, aspirin), dipyrone (metamizole), and numerous other drugs in diverse classes. The NSAIDs have potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activity, and are among the most widely used drugs worldwide. In palliative medicine, they represent the first step of the World Health Organization’s analgesic ladder used for mild pain and they are an important supplement to opioids and adjuvant drugs at higher steps of the ladder. The disadvantages of non-opioid analgesics include a ceiling effect for pain relief and the risk of side effects. NSAIDs are also associated with an increased risk of adverse gastrointestinal, renal, and cardiovascular effects and hepatotoxicity can result from overdosing with paracetamol. This chapter describes the clinical pharmacology of NSAIDs, their classification, molecular mechanisms of action and adverse effects, as well as some recent developments aimed at designing effective anti-inflammatory agents with improved safety and tolerability profiles.

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