The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Medications are used to control symptoms of low back pain and sciatica. The medications are listed by their generic name with some frequent brands names included in parentheses.
These drugs work to control inflammation, which produces pain. Some prescription NSAIDs are higher doses of the same NSAIDs that are available without a prescription.
Possible side effects include:
Some prescription NSAIDs (eg, Celebrex, Vioxx) have been associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Other studies show that some NSAIDs may cause complications in patients recovering from stroke, heart attacks, or open heart surgery. NSAIDs can also interfere with the actions of other drugs. Be certain your physician is aware of all drugs you take, including herbs and supplements (even if you only take these occasionally).
Antidepressants have pain-relieving abilities and are sometimes given to patients with chronic pain. They may improve your pain threshold and help you sleep. Do not stop taking these drugs without checking with your doctor.
These drugs work to control inflammation, which produces pain.
Possible side effects include:
Interaction with other drugs, including ACE inhibitors, blood thinners, and drugs to treat hypertension. Check with your physician to be certain that NSAIDs will not interact with other drugs you might be taking.
Acetaminophen relieves pain through different biological mechanisms, and it is not an NSAID. It can cause or exacerbate liver problems if recommended doses are exceeded. Do not drink alcohol while taking this drug. Do not take more than the recommended dose. Acetaminophen is unlikely to cause side effects associated with other pain medications such as GI upset, fluid retention and constipation.
When to Contact Your Doctor
More serious symptoms associated with back pain that may require immediate medical attention include:
Pain that doesn't improve, or worsens, with rest
Pain that is severe or that has gotten dramatically worse
Progressive weakness in a leg or foot
Difficulty walking, standing, or moving
Numbness in the genital or rectal area
Loss of bowel or bladder control
Burning or difficulty with urination
Fever, unexplained weight loss, or other signs of illness
Whenever you are taking a prescription medication, take the following precautions:
Take them as directed—not more, not less, not at a different time.
Do not stop taking them without consulting your doctor.
Don’t share them with anyone else.
Know what effects and side effects to expect, and report them to your doctor.
If you are taking more than one drug, even if it is over-the-counter, be sure to check with a physician or pharmacist about drug interactions.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a