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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Do painkillers work differently for different people?

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In short – yes, it is thought that there is some individual variation in the response to a particular painkiller. But pain is a complex perception. Sensation is influenced by so many factors, including variation in the type of pain, genetic factors, stress-related physiological responses, sociocultural influences, our prior experience, emotional state, and the context it occurs.

So it is difficult to attribute our response to a painkiller, to something as simple as painkiller receptors alone, but these are likely to play a part.

Read more:

  • If the brain has no pain receptors, why do I get headaches?
  • Why do I have such a low pain threshold compared to my sister?
  • Are there any studies on the best over-the-counter painkillers?
  • Could painkillers also kill pleasure?

Asked by: Geoff Winstanley, Blandford Forum

To submit your questions email us at questions@sciencefocus.com (don’t forget to include your name and location)

Authors

Dr Nish Manek is a GP in London. She completed her medical degree at Imperial College and was runner-up in the University of London Gold Medal. Manek has also developed teaching courses for Oxford Medical School, and has penned articles for The Guardian and Pulse magazine.

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