From colonial poppy fields to pharmatrash, southern Africa offers a fascinating history of drug regimes – one that helps us make sense of drug policies and legislation today.
Advice from the people who've reviewed all the latest evidence about the effectiveness of these painkillers.
At higher-than-prescribed doses, pregabalin causes sedation and euphoria.
Bruno van der Kraan
Ambulance call-outs associated with the misuse of pregabalin (Lyrica) have increased tenfold in Victoria since 2012, mirroring an increase in prescription rates.
The biological pathways related to physical and emotional pain overlap.
People who use painkillers for non-medical reasons often justify it as a form of self-medication for legitimate medical diagnoses such as depression, anxiety and stress.
Middle-aged and elderly people taking up exercise shouldn't be put off by joint pain. It will pass.
When a pain signal gets to the brain, it lets your brain know there’s a big problem so we can respond.
AAP Image/DAN PELED
In short, pain medicine is able to block the processes that cause the feeling of pain. To understand why, you need to know a bit about how pain works.
At present, surgeons vary widely in their approach to opioid prescription and some patients use opioids for prolonged periods post-surgery.
Surgeons are big prescribers of opioids. But while guidelines are in place for dentists and for doctors who prescribe opioid-based painkillers for long-term pain, there are none for surgeons.
There is growing evidence for the use of cannabis in treating opioid addiction.
As Canada moves towards legalization of cannabis in 2018, there is growing evidence of the drug's potential to treat opioid addiction itself, as well as the chronic pain that often drives it.
More and more baby boomers are getting hooked on oxycodone, vicodin and tramadol.
Drug related deaths are on the rise, but federal funds to programs that mitigate drug abuse are being cut in 2018.
Drug deaths are rising faster than ever. How did we get here and what to do about it?
A new review of painkilling gels reveals what works and what doesn't.
Ruud Morijn Photographer/Shutterstock.com
For two centuries, the only serious painkillers have been derived from opium. Scientists may have found a less deadly alternative.
Common over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen offer little proven relief for back pain.
Although common, back pain has many causes, and a quick drug fix is not the answer. But there are things you can do to get back on track.
Though the codeine we take today is made synthetically, small amounts of codeine are actually found in the opium poppy.
About 8% of the population is unable to metabolise codeine, and a small number metabolise it at a much larger extent.
Back pain image via www.shutterstock.com.
Unrelieved pain contributes more to human suffering than any other disease.
Hard to get.
Morphine pills image via www.shutterstock.com.
Why are so many people in dire need of pain relief unable to access the powerful painkillers that are so commonly prescribed in the United States?
A man injects himself with heroin using a needle obtained from the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance, the nation’s largest needle-exchange program, in Seattle, Washington.
Why have the demographics of heroin use changed so much? For that, we can look to dramatic increase in prescriptions for opioid painkillers, such as Oxycontin or Vicodin.
NRL players Aaron Gray and Dylan Walker suffered a life-threatening reaction to a combination of controlled drugs.
The use of prescription-only painkillers by athletes is hardly new, but debate about their (ab)use in Australia has recently been brought into focus by the emergency hospitalisation of South Sydney NRL…
There is little hard data on whether taking ibuprofen with food prevents gastric damage.
It's long been thought anti-inflammatory painkillers need to be taken with food to protect the stomach. But a handbook for doctors has recently moved away from this advice.
Codeine-containing painkillers may soon no longer be available over the counter in Australian pharmacies.
Australia's drug regulator is looking into reclassifying codeine-based drugs as prescription-only. This is a good idea because the easy availability of these pinkillers is causing substantial harm.