The analgesic ladder was designed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assist the healthcare prescriber in the prescription of analgesic drugs by suggesting a logical strategy for managing pain in a multitude of pain situations.
The ladder advocates a stepped approach to the use of painkillers from these analgesic groups:
Simple analgesics i.e. acetomenophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Weak opioids i.e. tramadol, codeine
Strong opioids i.e. morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, pethidine
Adjuvants - adjuvant analgesics are drugs which were not originally for pain but rather for other conditions but have been found to be effective in difficult to manage pain, particularly neuropathic pain. They are a diverse group of drugs that includes antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and others.