What are the strongest pain killers?

Updated April 17, 2017

Modern medicine has made vast improvements in the field of pain management. There are now strong pain medications for the injured, diseased and dying.

Opioid or Analgesics or Narcotics

The strongest pain killers are in the opioid family, which means they were originally made from the opium poppy juice but many are now man-made.

How Does an Opioid Work?

There are specific proteins in the brain called opioid receptors. These receptors are also found in the spinal cord and gastrointestinal tract. The compounds in the drugs attach to the receptors. When this occurs, the individual feeling of pain is changed and eased.


Fentanyl is one of the strongest painkillers. It is made of synthetic opioid. It is a slow or time-release medication. Fentanyl comes in the form of a patch and the medication is absorbed directly into the skin. Another form of this medication is called Actiq.


Morphine is another strong medication. It is often administered directly into a vein, although there are other ways to take it. After surgeries, many individuals are given this to manage pain. Those who are terminally ill or diseased will receive benefit from this medication.


Diamorphine is a strong pain killer often used in pain pumps. This drug can be used for patients who are terminally ill and in a lot of pain.

Other Strong Pain Killers

Other strong pain killers include drugs such as Buprenorphine, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone and Methadone.

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About the Author

Melanie Butler has been a writer for 12 years and a freelance writer since 2008. She has a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Arkansas. She has worked with other writing associations such as Associated Content.