Migraine Medications

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Most of us have had or know about tension headaches. However, a subset of people suffer from a severe form or recurring headache known as migraine. Migraines are characterized by severe throbbing pain in specific areas of the head such as the temples, eyes, or back of the head. If you've never experienced a migraine, the brain freeze that can happen after rapidly eating ice cream or flavored crushed ice almost matches the intensity of a migraine, but lasts only a few seconds, compared with the...

Epidural Administration Of Opiates

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Side effects such as sedation, slowed breathing, and reduced blood pressure often result when opiates are given by mouth or by injection. However, in certain situations, such as during childbirth, the patient needs to be alert and responsive and to have proper functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems while at the same time being relieved of severe pain. To allow this to occur, physicians often use a technique called epidural anesthesia. With the patient lying on his or her...

Prescription Pain Relievers

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Combined with an opiate, such as CoTylenol (codeine + Tylenol). When used in combination, the amount of drug needed can be lowered, and the risk of side effects, including addiction, is reduced. These combination drugs don't always work for severe pain, in which case the doctor may prescribe a stronger opiate drug. The gold standard of opiate pain relievers is morphine. It was one of the first compounds extracted, isolated, and purified from the opium poppy, and it continues to be one of the...

How Opiates Relieve Pain

Opiate drugs bind to and activate a protein called mu opiate receptor (mu is the Greek letter pronounced myoo), which is located on the surface of nerve cells in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. The dorsal horn is where sensory nerve fibers from the skin, muscle, and internal organs enter the spinal cord before sending their signals to the brain. Activation of the mu opiate receptor by opiate drugs inactivates the nerve cells on which they are located. Thus, pain signals are not sent to the...

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Figure 6.1 The gel in the leaves of the aloe vera plant, pictured here, is often used to relieve the discomfort of sunburns and minor cuts and scrapes. Figure 6.1 The gel in the leaves of the aloe vera plant, pictured here, is often used to relieve the discomfort of sunburns and minor cuts and scrapes. used to make various gels, lotions, creams, sprays, and ointments. Aloe vera is widely and commonly used as a topical pain reliever for sunburns, cuts, scrapes, and other skin irritations. Aloe...

Opiate Addiction

Addiction to prescription opiate pain relievers is a serious and growing problem in many countries, including the United States. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that more than 2.5 million people either abused or became addicted to prescription opiate pain relievers in the year 2000. This is up from about 600,000 in 1990 (Figure 3.5). This survey also showed that approximately 30 million people in the United States have abused prescription opiate pain relievers at some point...