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How to take Medications

Using a medication correctly improves the likelihood that it will be effective, and reduce the chance of side effects.

Understanding how drugs are named

Each drug has a ‘generic name’ name which is the name of the drug itself, and a ‘trade name’ which is the name given to it by the company that makes it. As a drug may be made by several different companies at once, it can have several different ‘trade names’ but will only ever have one ‘generic name’. Usually the trade name is in big letters on the box of medication and the generic name is in small letters. The generic name will be the same in every country, but it may be sold under many different trade names.

For example, ibuprofen is the generic name for a medication often used for period pain, headaches, or other pains. It is sold throughout the world under many different trade names including Nurofen, Advil, Herron Blue, Brufen, I-profen, Motrin etc.

Whichever medicine you take, it is important to discuss possible side effects, other medications you already use, and any medical conditions you have with your doctor first. Only paracetamol and codeine are suitable for women who may be pregnant.

Families of drugs

Although there are many different drugs available, they often come from just a few ‘families’ of drugs.

For example, ibuprofen, naprosyn, diclofenac, acetyl salicylic acid (aspirin) are all from a family of drugs called ‘Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’ (NSAIDs).

Some of the families of drugs used in people with pelvic pain include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Tricyclic medications such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, dothiepin
  • Anti-convulsants such as pregabalin or gabapentin
  • Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine, venlafaxine and desvenlafaxine
  • Opioids (narcotics) such as codeine, morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone

Your doctor will usually only prescribe one medication from each group at a time.

The information sheets on this website explain more about some of these medications and how to take them effectively.