Analgesic drugs and the gut – a reciprocal relationship

Analgesic drugs, as well as providing pain relief, can cause a range of other symptoms and side effects, most notably on the gastrointestinal system. Conversely, gastrointestinal disease will often require analgesia, and this can be complicated by the fact that the gut is the site of absorption of oral drugs. This paper discusses some of the effects of common oral analgesic drugs on the gastrointestinal tract and their role in managing some of the most common, non-malignant, chronic gastrointestinal disorders in adults.