The Common Types of Medication that are used in Anesthesia


Category : blog

Post View: 488 views

What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is a state of temporary loss of awareness or sensation. Substances that induce anesthesia are called anesthetics. They are typically used to cause insensitivity to pain during medical or any other procedures. They are generally administered via liquid or gaseous modes.

The Common Types of Medication that are used in Anesthesia are:

1. Analgesics

An analgesic or painkiller is any member of the group of drugs used to achieve analgesia, meaning relief from pain. Analgesics are any drug that relieves pain selectively without blocking the conduction of nerve impulses, markedly altering sensory perception, or affecting consciousness. Analgesics and Anesthetics are two different types of drugs; however, in the treatment of anesthesia, analgesics are often used: 


Acetaminophen is used to treat mild to moderate pain, reduce fever, or combat severe pain alone or sometimes in combination with opiates. Common conditions treated by acetaminophen include headache, muscle ache, toothache, backache, arthritis, colds, sore throat, flu, and fever. Acetaminophen is typically used orally but can be given intravenously.

Acetaminophen is available in many OTC combination medications along with other drugs that include Coridicin, Dayquil, Dristan, Excedrin, Feverall, Midol, Nyquil, Panadol, Sudafed, Theraflu, Triaminic, Vanquish, Vicks, and Zicam.

Acetaminophen is found in many prescription combination drugs too, including Hydrocodone bitartrate, Lortab, Phenaphen, Tapanol, Tylenol with codeine, Tylox, Ultracet, Vicodin, and Zydone.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDs are a different type of painkiller than an opioid drug such as morphine and codeine that are typically used for comparatively severe types of pain. These drugs commonly come under the broader definition of non-opioid analgesics.

Anti-inflammatory drugs cut down pain partly by decreasing inflammation. People can use these drugs to alleviate pain, swelling, stiffness, and fever. NSAIDs are usually used for less severe types of pain resulting from problems involving aches, pains, and spasms.

They include some of the most common pain-relieving drugs globally, such as aspirin and ibuprofen that are used by approximately 30 million Americans each day. Many NSAIDs are available over the counter (OTC) – they are generally safe as long as they are used according to the recommended dose. This class of analgesics is not as commonly used in operative settings as they can potentially increase the risk of bleeding following the procedures.


Narcotics or Opioids are typically used to treat acute pain caused by surgery and other medical procedures, as well as for moderate to severe breakthrough or chronic (persistent) pain.

Narcotic analgesics should be used tenuously in the specific treatment period. The use of these agents is permitted only in exceptional cases wherein intolerable pain is present that cannot be subdued by the first-line drugs. Narcotic analgesics are also commonly combined with drugs from various categories

2. Anxiolytics

Anxiolytics (or sedatives) are medications that help to reduce anxiety and relax the body.  In higher doses, they can also induce sleep. They may also potentially cause anterograde amnesia, typically for a few hours wherein the patient will not have recollection of the events following the administration of the medication.  Anxiolytics are usually given pre-operatively to relax a patient before the medical procedure.

The potency of these medications in alleviating stress and anxiety is probably why they are so frequently abused. Abused anxiolytic sedatives include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and other drugs consumed to induce sleep.

3. General Anesthetics

General anesthesia is typically a combination of medications that may cause and maintain unconsciousness before surgery or other medical procedures. Under general anesthesia, you don’t feel pain not just because you’re unconscious, but the anesthetized brain doesn’t respond to pain signals or any reflexes either. General anesthesia is usually used in a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gasses.

4. Local Anesthetics

Local anesthetics or also commonly known as numbing agents, block the conduction of impulses in nerves that transmit pain signals, causing a complete absence of pain sensations without a loss of consciousness, as opposed to general anesthetics.