Adjuvant analgesics are compounds that are not classified as analgesics, but are used clinically for the relief of pain. This class of analgesics contains a wide range of compounds that belong to a variety of chemical families. They are classified according to their use and their mechanisms of action are often not well defined. For example, antidepressants are used to control neuropathic pain, a2-adrenoceptor agonists (e.g. clonidine, dexmedetomidine) potentiate the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of COX inhibitors, while corticosteroids block inflammation and may directly modulate the nociceptive action of substance P. Compounds that have been especially beneficial in the treatment of neuropathic and phantom limb pain include local anesthetics (e.g., mexiletine, flecainide), anticonvulsants (gabapentin, carbamazepine, phenytoin, valproate, clonazepam, lamotrigine), GABA agonists, neuroleptics and calcitonin. Other analgesics such as muscle relaxants and benzo-diazepines are used to relieve musculoskeletal pain.
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