Combination Ingredients for Analgesics

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All analgesics, such as: paracetamol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen and aspirin, work in slightly different ways and some will be combined with other ingredients to make them more effective.


- Codeine and Dihydrocodeine:

These are analgesics that are not available on their own as an over the counter medicines (OTC) and can only be obtained on their own as prescribed medication.

They are very similar and are related to the strong painkiller known as morphine, which is an analgesic only obtained on prescription. 

They work within the brain by blocking the brain’s ability to feel pain and determines its severity. By blocking the pain receptors in the brain, they stop the receptors from receiving the pain messages coming from the damaged part of the body.

Unfortunately they are weak opioid analgesics, have no effect on the pain causing chemicals in the brain and have no action at the site of injury.

Low doses can be found in combination with some analgesics such as paracetamol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen or aspirin, to make a much stronger method of pain relief which are only suitable for their use in adults.

Unfortunately, codeine and dihydrocodeine can cause constipation, so they should be avoided by women with period pain since this will only make the periods worse.

They can also cause drowsiness, so they should be avoided by anybody that needs to be completely awake and aware at all times, especially people who will be driving or using complex machinery.

Dihydrocodeine products are not suitable for asthmatics or anybody that has breathing difficulties since it potentially suppresses breathing and it could be a real danger for people suffering from those conditions.

Prolonged uses for either codeine or dihydrocodeine can cause headaches so they are not advice to be used over a long period of time or for people suffering from headaches.

- Antihistamines (buclizine, doxylamine, promethazine and diphenhydramine):
This combination ingredient is normally added because of its side effects.

Buclizine is used in some migraine products to help relieve nausea symptoms.

Doxylamine is a muscle relaxant and is used in products such as tension headaches medicines.

Promethazine and diphenhydramine are used for their sedating side effects, especially in products that are specifically intended for night time use.

These will cause drowsiness and the effects can last well into the following day.

- Hyoscine:
Hyoscine is an anti-spasmodic, which relives stomach cramps and is helpful in relieving symptoms such as period pain.

- Sumatriptan:
Sumatriptan acts very much like serotonin, which is a natural chemical involved in migraines that occurs in the brain.
It helps return the blood vessels to normal and calm the sensory nerves.

It can relive symptoms involved in migraines such as headache or sensitivity to light and sound, and even nausea.

- Prochlorperazine:
Prochlorperazine is used to treat nausea caused by migraines.

- Caffeine:
As we all know, caffeine is found in tea, coffee and cola and is consider a weak stimulant. It is used in some analgesics to enhance their effect and reduce the amount of drowsiness that some can cause.

Warning: Remember that there are a large number of analgesics available and that the maximum daily doses are relevant to the active ingredients and not just the products, so care must be taken in order not to overdose.

Always check the active ingredients on all the medicines that you are currently using.

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