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Painkillers: State of Drugs & Prescription in India

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

If you are looking to save money on prescription drugs and considering getting it from online pharmacies, you need to know whom to trust and the legal attributes attached to it, especially when it is about purchasing controlled substances. By controlled substances, we mean narcotic painkillers, sedatives, stimulants and anabolic steroids. Never buy drugs and painkillers without a prescription from a licensed doctor.

Indian Medical Association (IMA)  


IMA issued guidelines this year on painkillers which advocated against prolonged and un-prescribed usage stating that it causes more harm than good. IMA clearly stated against the common perception that like paracetamol or aspirin can be consumed for pain or fever without consulting a doctor. The guideline also put limitation on heavy painkillers like morphine and codeine which is essential to treat dangerous and painful illnesses like cancer.

Common painkillers

We may be addicted to painkillers even without knowing it! On a daily basis, depending upon the kinds of pain we experience like toothache, period pain or headache, we might consume painkillers like Brufen to fix it. For patients suffering from arthritis, they consume painkillers on a daily basis and unaware they are addicted and hooked on to it. Such consumption of painkillers can often result in kidney and heart failures. Furthermore, inform your doctor if you have any history of allergy to medicines (if experienced in the past).

Therefore, always buy drugs only if you have a prescription from a licensed doctor and not a drug dealer. Make sure you are prescribed with a kidney and heart safe drug and avoid self medication.

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

Opioid analgesics, such as codeine and morphine are essential medicines for the treatment of severe unbearable pain. However due to the risk of it being abused or diverted for illicit purposes, the access to such painkiller are regulated and controlled. Patients in India are allowed weaker opioids, which is used to treat chronic or terminally ill patients.

Such drugs can only be accessed and prescribed if the patient’s illness is extremely severe. It requires the patient to sign a ‘Treatment agreement’ and consent for drug monitoring test.

Always consult a doctor and get a prescription. Remember, we have doctors for a reason and have a high medical and legal baggage associated with it. So the next time you take your painkiller, keep all these factors in mind and consume wisely.

Long term usage of paracetamol which spiked during covid causes liver damage, while it’s relatively safe in kidney disease. However ibuprofen is highly kidney damaging on a long-term use and causes deposits of calcium in kidneys. Before taking any medicine pls get it prescribed.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Potential side effects of painkillers:

While narcotics and strong painkiller drugs have immediate and severe side effects, even common over-the-counter painkillers can have multiple downsides:

Although long-term use of painkillers is commonly implicated to be a cause of abdominal bleeding, ulcers, and heart attack, addiction to their use is a challenging problem that may become difficult to tackle.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D
  • Paracetamol can cause allergic reactions in rare cases, while overuse can result in liver damage (also called hepatotoxicity).
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can react badly with your current medications while also causing serious issues in the gastrointestinal tract, kidney heart and liver.
  • Opioid medications can cause addiction, drug-induced reactions, constipation, vomiting depression and much more.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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