Pain medication for burns is one of the most widely used treatment approaches in burn injury cases. “Drug administration is the primary and most effective way of treating pain in burn patients because of its nature and intensity,” researchers explained in a 2013 issue of the Brazilian medical journal Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia.
The types of medications that doctors may prescribe depend upon the severity and type of pain from which the patient is suffering. Also, because the perception of pain and response to treatment is different for everyone, some medications may work wonders for one burn victim, yet be completely ineffective for another. If a certain medication has not worked for you, you can investigate other options with your doctor.
What over-the-counter medications help burn pain?
For first-degree burns and for the latter stages of healing in more serious burns, over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be effective in reducing pain. Options that may bring relief include:
- Acetaminophen, e.g., Tylenol
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), e.g., ibuprofen such as Advil and Motrin
- Naproxen, e.g., Aleve
- Antibiotic ointment
- Aloe vera cream
- Melatonin and other OTC sleep aids (if your pain is impairing your sleep)
Note: If your burn was substantial in the total body surface area affected (over two inches in diameter or a second-, third-, or fourth-degree burn), avoid using creams or ointments on your burn without your doctor’s approval.
What types of prescription medications help burn pain?
When the burn injury is severe, doctors typically recommend stronger and more aggressive treatments. Opioids, such as morphine and oxycodone, are a go-to medication for severe burns. Doctors may administer them intravenously, orally, or topically. This class of drugs is potent and reliably effective for treating severe pain. Other drugs that doctors may prescribe for burn patients include:
- Tramadol (good for neuropathic pain)
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as paracetamol and dipyrone
- Anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin and pregabalin (helpful in reducing pain during medical procedures and for reducing neuropathic pain)
- Antidepressants such as amitriptyline
- Benzodiazepines (Anti-anxiety medications can help reduce burn victims’ fear and tension, symptoms that can reduce tolerance to pain.)
- Clonidine and dexmedetomidine
Is there anything else I should know about pain medications?
Certain medications can be habit forming, so it is important to speak to your doctor if you have a history of addiction.
Also, some pain medications have side effects that can potentially cause problems as you heal. For instance, they may cause nausea, which can make it hard to eat and sustain your nutrition program. Likewise, if you use them for a long period of time, some medications like NSAIDs can have serious side effects that can compromise your health.
Certain medications used in burn care can also lead to psychological issues such as depression and anxiety, which are complications that many burn injury victims must already combat. Be proactive with your treatment; make sure you to discuss your concerns with your doctor and carefully weigh the benefits with the side effects for any treatments you are considering.
And also be aware of the financial affect of the burn injury, like the cost of your medication and other treatment. Many burn victims find themselves experiencing a significant financial burden because of their treatment and missed time from work. You may be able to recover compensation for these costs and losses by filing a legal claim against the party liable for your burn injuries. Call our lawyer referral specialists at 844-549-8774 for help finding a lawyer.