Opioids medications are power pain relievers, but may come with serious complications. For this reason, a wide range of non-opioid medications are available to help relieve acute and chronic pain. This approach is known as multi-modal pain control. Multi-modal pain control eases your pain with a combination of medicines. The goal is to reduce the use of narcotics and their unpleasant side effects. Your physician after a comprehensive review will determine which medications may be most successful in giving you the best outcome.
If you are interested in multi-modal non-opioid adjuvant therapy, please please review the video and frequently asked questions below. Although the video below is specific to multi-modal pain relief for surgery the principles are similar to outpatient chronic pain management with a multi-modal approach. Additionally, if you have questions or concerns do not hesitate to discuss them with your physician.
Non-opioid Adjuvant Therapy FAQ
Non-opioid medications are available as an alternative to opioid medications and are from five classes of medications below. It is important to discuss the risks, benefits, alternatives, and side effects with your healthcare provider before starting any medication.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription medications that provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.
- Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen, is different that NSAIDs, but similarly reduces pain by interrupting pain signals to the brain.
- Anti-depressants at lower dosages act as a pain reliever by reducing the pain signal intensity to the brain. However, anti-depressants can take up to six weeks to take effect.
- Anti-convulsants, also known as anti-seizure medications, act as a pain reliever by reducing the pain signal intensity to the brain. However, anti-convulsants can take up to six weeks to take effect.
- Muscle relaxants reduce pain by preventing muscle spasms, which contribute to pain.
- Topical medications work in various mechanisms to reduce pain, such as lidocaine cream that numbs the area, capsaicin cream that provides a soothing warming which depletes pain molecules.
Almost all pain conditions both acute and chronic may be treated from one or more of the five medication classes available within non-opioid adjuvant therapy.
Non-opioid adjuvant therapy requires oversight and interaction between the providers taking care of you, and between yourself and your care team. Your providers after a comprehensive medical review will decide if you are a candidate for non-opioid adjuvant therapy, and will include a discussion of the risks, side effects and benefits as well as educate you about your medications. Your provider will periodically review the effectiveness of your non-opioid adjuvant medications, and optimize your regimen as needed. Non-opioid adjuvant therapy may also be a part of a care team model involving pain psychology, pain management and primary care specialties working together.