Pain in Adults

Pain Relief for Adults

 There are many painful conditions which can cause problems after the surgery has closed. The most common painful conditions causing adults to see a doctor after hours are:

  • Abdominal Pain (stomach ache)
  • Toothache
  • Sore throat
  • Earache

Abdominal pain should be treated with extreme care as there are many serious causes and it can be very difficult to tell the dangerous from the harmful. If your symptoms do not improve quickly, or if you feel worse, please call our surgery.  Even after hours, a trained nurse will answer your call.  Alternatively you could call healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice. Do not hesitate to call 111 in an emergency.

Toothache is best treated by a dentist as most causes of toothache will not get better without proper dental treatment. Some dental conditions are best treated with antibiotics, as are some sore throats.

The following painkillers are available without prescription:

Paracetamol (Paracare, Panadol)

Paracetamol is a very safe medication. It is best to use this for most pain as it has few (if any) side effects and can be taken with almost all medications and almost never makes any conditions worse.

You can purchase paracetamol from pharmacies, supermarkets, some dairies and most service stations.

The best dose is 2 tablets (each has 500mg paracetamol) at once. Doses should be four hours apart and you should take no more than four doses in a day.

Paracetamol is considered safe to use in pregnancy.

You should not take paracetamol if:

  • Your doctor has advised you not to
  • You are allergic to paracetamol or acetomenophen (Tylenol in USA)
  • You have taken other medications containing paracetamol in the last four hours. Take care as many over the counter cold remedies contain paracetamol. Always read the label.

Ibuprofen (Nurofen)

Ibuprofen is a reasonably safe medication but does have significant side effects including stomach pain, stomach ulcers and wheezing (usually in older asthmatic patients).

Ibuprofen can be used at the same time as paracetamol to help with more significant pain and is especially useful when you have a joint or muscle injury.

You can purchase ibuprofen from pharmacies, supermarkets, some dairies and most service stations.

The best dose is 2 tablets (each has 200mg ibuprofen) after food. Doses should be six hours apart and you should take no more than three doses in a day.

You should not take ibuprofen if:

  • Your doctor has advised you not to
  • You are allergic to ibuprofen or other anti-inflamatory drugs (including aspirin, diclofenc, voltaren, ponstan, mefenamic acid and others)
  • You have had stomach ulcers or gastritis in the past
  • You are pregnant

A number of medications are now available combining paracetamol and ibuprofen (Nuromol, Maxigesic) and these have the distinct advantage of being a four times daily combined medication.  These do have the same side effects and complications as both paracetamol and ibuprofen but may be a good choice for more significant sore throats and viral symptoms.

Codeine Phosphate

Codeine is available in combination with paracetamol and ibuprofen. These combination drugs can only be purchased from pharmacies. Pharmacy services are available until 11pm every day at the Urgent Pharmacy (on the 24 Hour Surgery site, Corner of Bealey ave and Colombo St).

Combination drugs include in each tablet:

Panadeine and Codalgin
(500mg paracetamol, 8mg codeine)
Panadeine Plus
(500mg paracetamol, 15mg codeine)

Codeine provides additional pain relief when pain is more severe. It is especially useful for adults with toothache, injuries and diarrhoea. Sometimes codeine will ease a cough.

The best dose depends on which preparation you have bought - speak to the pharmacist for advice or consider calling healthline. It is not usually necessary to combine these medicines with others.

The side effects of codeine include, constipation, drowsiness, nasuea and agitation. Older patients should not take codeine without medical advice as it may increase the risk of falls.

You should not take codeine if:

  • Your doctor has advised you not to
  • You are allergic to codeine
  • You are not able to take the paracetamol or ibuprofen provided with the medication
  • You need to do anything other than sleep for the next four hours.
  • You may be tested for drugs of abuse

Think Again

If you have any doubts at all, or if simple pain relief is not enough, please contact your doctor or healthline for advice 0800 611 116.

In an emergency, call 111.




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