Non-opioid drugs, also known as non-narcotics, are a type of analgesic medicine. Analgesics refer to a broad class of drugs, including opioids, which provide pain relief. Opioid analgesics differ from non-opioids in that they hinder the ability of opioid receptors in the central nervous system to signal the presence of pain, while non-opioids relieve pain by blocking the formation of substances known as prostaglandins, which cause pain in the body. Another difference between the two types is that opioid drugs are typically prescription-based while non-opioid drugs are available over the counter.
Non-opioids are typically taken by mouth and include drugs such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. Common brands of these drugs include Tylenol, aspirin, Motrin, Advil, and Aleve.