Medications that relieve pain include acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids and corticosteroids. These medications have classifications either as over-the-counter pain medications or prescription pain medications. The use of the two categories depends on the intensity and nature of the pain, says WebMD.
Over-the-counter pain medications include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Acetaminophen pain relievers include Tylenol and aspirin-free Excedrin. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include Naprosyn, ibuprofen and Advil. Over-the-counter pain medications help relieve fever and pain in individuals suffering from muscle aches and stiffness. These medicines are available as tablets, creams, sprays and lotions for various locations of the body. Certain tablet formulations may require a doctor's prescription, according to WebMD.
Creams, sprays and lotions generally do not require a doctor's prescription, and they are used for topical application on the skin to help relieve arthritis pain as well as pain caused by sore muscles. Prescription pain relievers are only accessible through a doctor's approval because of the potential side effects and the possibility of abuse.
Corticosteroids include methylprednisolone, prednisone and prednisolone, and these medications provide relief from pain caused by inflammation. Opioids are opiate derivatives and provide short-term pain relief following surgical operations. The most commonly used opioid pain relievers include oxycodone, morphine, codeine and fentanyl, according to WebMD.