Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Drugs To Treat Cancer Pain

Various drugs are used to treat cancer pain. Cancer pain can be controlled effectively if treated just after its onset. The cancer pain medicines work best if taken on a regular schedule. For most patients, this pain can be effectively managed with the help of pain killers. Ones who are already taking pain medicines for other health conditions must tell their doctor about the frequency and effectiveness of those drugs.

Drugs To Treat Cancer Pain

Non-Prescription Medicines for Treating Cancer Pain

Cancer patients should be careful when taking non-prescription medicines to treat their pain. Some common non-prescription pain relieving medicines for cancer pain are anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, and acetaminophen like Tylenol. Patients, especially ones who are having fever or have suffered from liver or kidney disease, stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding, should always consult their doctor before taking these medicines to treat their pain from cancer. One should only take these medicines in amounts mentioned on the label or as prescribed by their doctor or oncologist.

Prescription Medicines to Treat Cancer Pain

Cancer patients who suffer from frequent pain require stronger medicines that are prescribed by doctors. These powerful medicines for treating or alleviating cancer pain should be taken as directed by the doctor. Depending on the severity of the pain, these prescription drugs can either be taken alone or in combination with other medicines. Common prescription pain medicines given to cancer patients include opiate pain relievers like hydromorphone, morphine, fentanyl, tramadol, methadone and oxycodone

Other medicines which can be used in combination with opiate pain relievers to help them work better and also treat certain symptoms and specific types of cancer pain more effectively are:

  • Anti-depressants to relieve cancer pain and help one sleep better.
  • Anti-convulsants to control nerve pain and sensations like tingling and burning.
  • Bisphosphonates like zoledronic acid and pamidronate, to treat bone pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids like dexamethasone and prednisone.
  • Local anaesthetics like dermal creams, containing lidocaine or capsaicin, to relieve pain in the skin and the surrounding tissues.

Medical Marijuana can also help to relieve cancer pain. The active ingredient of marijuana is available in the form of dronabinol capsule or Marijuana cigarettes.

How are the Drugs to Treat Cancer Pain Administered?

Medicines for cancer pain are generally given orally, i.e. by mouth. If the patient requires quick pain relief or a patient is unable to swallow the medicines, then the drug can be administered through other ways like injections in the skin or spine, intravenously, rectal suppositories, infusion pump, skin patch and nasal spray.

How To Ensure That A Cancer Patient Is Getting Adequate Pain Treatment?

To ensure that patients suffering from cancer get proper and adequate cancer pain treatment, they should talk to their doctor and tell them about their pain. Then the doctor and the patient can together chart a pain management treatment and monitor the progress and success of the cancer pain treatment. The doctor should track and assess the intensity of the pain with a pain scale. Their main aim should be to keep the cancer patient as comfortable as possible.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 23, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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