Antidepressants, NSAIDs and acetaminophen are used to manage chronic pain, according to WebMD. Despite the perception they cause legal problems due to overtreatment and undertreatment, narcotics are also used for chronic pain management.
Treating chronic pain can be a trial-and-error process, and the first line of defense is over-the-counter NSAIDs and acetaminophen, explains WebMD. These minimize inflammation and reduce pain associated with arthritis and other forms of chronic pain.
Antidepressants target areas of the brain that process pain perception, according to WebMD. Research indicates they are most effective against pain caused by arthritis, migraines, tension headaches and fibromyalgia among other conditions, notes Mayo Clinic.
There is a risk of addiction with narcotics such as codeine, fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone, but they are effective at treating chronic pain, notes WebMD. They are typically prescribed in conjunction with other medications, such as antidepressants, to increase their effectiveness.