• Question: How do pain killers work?

    Asked by anon-250006 to Robyn on 18 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Robyn Kiy

      Robyn Kiy answered on 18 Mar 2020:

      This is a great question! The exact mechanism depends on the painkiller in question. One example is ibuprofen, a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which is used because it has analgesic (pain-killing), anti-inflammatory (anti-swelling), and antipyretic (anti-fever) properties. It works by inhibiting, or blocking, the COX1 and COX2 enzymes. These enzymes are involved in the production of prostaglandins, which mediate pain and fever. Therefore, by preventing prostaglandin production, ibuprofen can relieve pain.