Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: Hannah LS on 26/11/2018 09:26:26

Title: Do pain killers target specific areas of the body?
Post by: Hannah LS on 26/11/2018 09:26:26
Wassem asks:

How does a pain relief drug target the actual area of the body where the pain is?

What do you think?
Title: Re: Do pain killers target specific areas of the body?
Post by: evan_au on 26/11/2018 10:49:00
With a local anaesthetic, it targets a particular area by being injected into that specific area, or into the nerves sensing pain in that area.
Dentists are quite good at targeting specific areas - although you may drool for a while afterwards...

For analgesics taken by mouth or breathed in via the lungs, the bloodstream carries them to all parts of the body, so it has a general pain relief effect - but it also means that any side-effects will be more systemic, like the painkillers that can damage your liver (in susceptible individuals).

One pain medication in Australia was fined for advertising that implied that it could target specific sources of pain. Their more recent advertising now implies that it can cure all pains...
Title: Re: Do pain killers target specific areas of the body?
Post by: chris on 29/11/2018 00:15:10
We answered how painkillers know where it hurts (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/questions/how-do-pain-medications-target-pain) on the Naked Scientists a few years back.

We also tackled it on our Ask! The Naked Scientists phone-in show in 2011:

https://www.thenakedscientists.com/podcasts/ask-naked-scientists/how-do-painkillers-know-where-it-hurts