List of Pain Relief Medications

Many types of analgesics and adjunct agents are available for addressing different pain conditions. Following is a complete list of pain medications organized by classes and types. The listing is regularly updated and includes latest new drug approvals.

Pain medications share their mechanism of action. They all provide analgesic effect by interfering with the pain signaling cascade. Pain relievers are not designed to and do not treat the problem causing the pain, but they only temporary lessen the intensity, duration, or sensation of pain.

Non-Narcotic Analgesics

Generic Brand Name Legal status
Acetaminophen (paracetamol) Tylenol OTC

Acetaminophen is appropriate for mild to moderate pain. Acetaminophen has very few side effects, low incidence of hypersensitivity reactions, and is relatively inexpensive. Acetaminophen does not produce addiction or tolerance.

The main issue with acetaminophen is a risk of serious hepatotoxicity with overdose.


Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Generic Brand Name Legal status
Aspirin   OTC
Bromfenac Prolensa, Bromday Rx
Diclofenac Cataflam, Voltaren, Zipsor Rx
Diflunisal Dolobid Rx
Etodolac Lodine, Lodine XL Rx
Fenoprofen Nalfon Rx
Flurbiprofen Ansaid Rx
Ibuprofen Advil, Cramp End, Dolgesic, Excedrin IB, Genpril, Haltran, Ibren, Ibu, Ibuprin, Ibuprohm, Ibu-Tab, Medipren, Midol IB, Motrin, Nuprin, Pamprin-IB, Q-Profen, Rufen, Trendar OTC,
Indomethacin Indocin, Indocin SR, Tivorbex Rx
Ketoprofen Actron, Orudis, Oruvail OTC, Rx
Ketorolac Toradol, Sprix Rx
Meclofenamate Meclomen Rx
Mefenamic Acid Ponstel Rx
Meloxicam Mobic, Vivlodex Rx
Nabumetone Relafen Rx
Naproxen Aleve, Anaprox,
Anaprox DS, EC-Naprosyn, Naprelan, Naprosyn
Nepafenac Nevanac Rx
Oxaprozin Daypro Rx
Phenylbutazone Cotylbutazone Rx
Piroxicam Feldene Rx
Sulindac Clinoril Rx
Tolmetin Tolectin, Tolectin DS Rx
COX-2 Inhibitors
Celecoxib Celebrex Rx
See also list of NSAIDs by type

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) represent a wide class of pain relievers. All NSAIDs have varying degrees of anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic properties as well as different side effects, time to onset of action, and duration of action. NSAIDs are used primarily to treat inflammation, mild to moderate pain, and fever. Aspirin is used to prevent blood clotting.

Opioid (Narcotic) Pain Medications

Generic Brand Name Legal status2
Buprenorphine Buprenex, Butrans transdermal patch Rx,
Butorphanol Stadol Rx,
Codeine   Rx,
Hydrocodone   Rx,
Hydromorphone Dilaudid, Dilaudid-5, Dilaudid-HP, Hydrostat IR, Exalgo ER Rx,
Levorphanol Levo-Dromoran Rx,
Meperidine Demerol Rx,
Methadone Dolophine, Methadose Rx,
Morphine Astramorph PF, AVINZA, Duramorph, Kadian,
MS Contin, MSIR, Oramorph SR, Rescudose, Roxanol
Nalbuphine Nubain Rx*
Oxycodone OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta Rx,
Oxymorphone Numorphan Rx,
Pentazocine Talwin Rx,
Propoxyphene Cotanal-65, Darvon Rx,
Tapentadol Nucynta Rx,
Tramadol Ultram Rx,
Tramadol and Acetaminophen Ultracet Rx,
* Currently Nalbuphine remains the only opioid analgesic in the U.S. that is not a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

Narcotic analgesics remain the most potent and effective pain relievers available today and are often called "painkillers". They are used to relieve moderate to severe pain.

Opioid analgesics work by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. They inhibit pain-transmitting neurons and stimulate pain-inhibitory neurons thus changing the brain's interpretation of pain.

Long-term use of narcotic analgesics can lead to physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

Combination Pain Relievers

Compound or combined analgesics usually contain a small amount of a mild narcotic, and a simple analgesic such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. This type of analgesics is often prescribed when non-narcotic painkillers don't provide adequate analgesia.

Generic Brand Name
Butalbital, Acetaminophen, and Caffeine Femcet, Fioricet, Esgic, Esgic-Plus
Butalbital, Aspirin, and Caffeine Fiorinal
Butalbital, acetaminophen, caffeine, and codeine Fioricet with Codeine
Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen Hydrostal IR, Vicoprofen
Morphine/Naltrexone Embeda
Oxycodone/Naltrexone Troxyca ER
Pentazocine/Naloxone Talwin NX
Narcotic Analgesics and Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen and Codeine Capital with Codeine, Margesic #3, Phenaphen with Codeine, Tylenol with Codeine
Dihydrocodeine, Acetaminophen, and Caffeine DHCplus
Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen Allay, Anexsia 5/500, Anexsia 7.5/650, Dolacet, Dolagesic, Duocet, Hycomed, Hydrocet, Hydrogesic, HY-PHEN, Lorcet 10/650, Lorcet-HD, Lortab, Panacet 5/500, Panlor, Stagesic, T-Gesic, Ugesic, Vicodin, Zydone
Oxycodone and Acetaminophen Endocet, Percocet, Roxicet, Roxilox, Tylox; Xartemis XR
Pentazocine and Acetaminophen Talacen
Propoxyphene and Acetaminophen Darvocet-N 50,
Darvocet-N 100, E-Lor, Propacet 100
Narcotic Analgesics and Aspirin
Aspirin, Caffeine, and Dihydrocodeine Synalgos-DC
Aspirin and Codeine Empirin with Codeine
Hydrocodone and Aspirin Damason-P, Lortab ASA, Panasal 5/500
Oxycodone and Aspirin Endodan, Percodan, Percodan-Demi, Roxiprin
Pentazocine and Aspirin Talwin Compound
Propoxyphene, Aspirin, and Caffeine Darvon Compound-65, PC-Cap, Propoxyphene Compound-65

Topical Analgesics

Generic Brand Name Legal status
Capsaicin ArthriCare, ARTH-RX, Axsain, Capsagel, Dura-Patch, Methacin, Qutenza, Zotrix, Zotrix-HP OTC

Topical Anesthetics

While analgesics lessen the sensation of pain, anesthetics block all physical feelings, including pain.

Generic Brand Name Legal status
Benzocaine Americaine, Endocaine, Lagol OTC
Benzocaine / Menthol Benzocol, Butyl Aminobenzoate, Dermoplast OTC
Dibucaine Cinchocaine, Nupercainal Cream, Nupercainal Oinment OTC,
Lidocaine LidaMantle, Lidoderm, Lignocainem, Xylocaine Rx
Lidocaine/ Prilocaine EMLA Rx


Pain Medications for Neuropathic Pain

List of drugs approved by the U.S. FDA for the treatment of neuropathic pain syndromes (nerve pain):

Generic Brand Name Legal status
Carbamazepine Tegretol Rx
Duloxetine Cymbalta Rx
Gabapentin Neurontin Rx
Lidocaine patch Lidoderm Rx
Pregabalin Lyrica Rx,

Pain Medications for Fibromyalgia

Symptoms of fibromyalgia are managed with pain relievers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and sleep medicines.

List of medications approved by the U.S. FDA specifically for the treatment of fibromyalgia:

Generic Brand Name Legal status
Duloxetine Cymbalta Rx
Milnacipran Savella Rx
Pregabalin Lyrica Rx,

Related resources


  • 1. New FDA Approved Drugs CenterWatch
  • 2. Controlled Substances by CSA Schedule DEA

Last updated: April 05, 2018


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