oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Are NSAIDs inferior to other analgesics? : pain
"Pain" can be defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with true or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. Pain is always subjective.
According to the Stedman's Medical Dictionary, "analgesia" : is a condition in which nociceptive stimuli are perceived but are not interpreted as pain. This is usually accompanied by sedation without loss of consciousness.
An analgesic, therefore, is a compound capable of producing analgesia, i.e. one that relieves pain by altering perception of nociceptive stimuli without producing loss of consciousness. Analgesics mostly function as central nervous system depressants. Specific receptors play a role in this regard, namely mu-receptors. Drugs acting on these receptors are classified as analgesics and include morphine, pethidine and codeine. They are also referred to as narcotic or opioid analgesics. Tramadol is only partly an opioid analgesic, i.e. ± 30%. The rest have a mono-aminergic function.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) are drugs with analgesic effects, but are not classified as narcotic analgesics. Their mechanism of action is totally different from that of the opioid narcotics.
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