Five Drug Combinations to Help Chronic Pain

by Allison Bush Editor

A Muscle Relaxant and an Anti-Inflammatory

This combination of medications serves anyone with musculoskeletal pain well because inflammation often triggers muscle spasms. The heat and swelling are controlled by the anti-inflammatory chemical while the muscles relax as a result of the additional medication. So, it makes sense to take both together.

A Nerve “Relaxer” and an Opioid

Maybe you’ve never heard of the nerve “relaxers” used to treat nerve pain. These medications help the “calm” nerves down so that the pain impulses stop or at least diminish. Examples of medications specifically used to treat nerve pain include: gabapentin, zonisamide, amitriptyline, and desipramine. These medications are often combined with an opioid medication in order to give pain a one-two punch.

Acetaminophen and an Anti-Inflammatory and/or an Opioid

It amazes me how many people confuse acetaminophen with an anti-inflammatory medication, thinking they are one in the same. Thus, people think that you cannot take them both together. The fact is that acetaminophen works even better when combined with an anti-inflammatory medication or an opioid. To avoid an acetaminophen overdose, do not exceed more than 2000mg/day of chronic acetaminophen use.

Long-acting Opioid and Short-acting Opioid

Unfortunately, many people are just using a short-acting opioid medication to chase chronic pain. Short-acting medications are only designed to treat pain briefly and are best used for acute pain or activity related pain. Thus, someone with chronic pain needs to be on a long-acting opioid medication that can evenly control pain all day without as many ups and downs.

Stool Softner and Laxative

Let’s face it; constipation happens when taking many of these medications used to treat chronic pain because they cause the bowel movements to slow down. Now, using a stool softner like ducusate sodium helps but it does not get things moving like a laxative. Thus, the combination of the two is a better solution for the constipation dilemma.

Allison Bush
Meet Our Writer
Allison Bush

Allison Bush is a former HealthCentral editor who covered a wide range of health topics.