Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®, generics) and opioids such as codeine may be used for the short-term relief of pain for people with AS whose pain is not sufficiently relieved by other medications.


  • What does it do? Acetaminophen relieves pain but not swelling and is believed to work by increasing the pain tolerance.
  • How do I use it? Acetaminophen is an oral medication (taken by mouth) and is usually taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Some types of acetaminophen are taken every 8 hours.


  • What does it do? Opioids relieve more severe pain. They work by acting at pain receptors to block the pain sensation.
  • How do I use it? Opioids are usually taken orally and the dose depends on the individual. They are usually taken every 4 to 12 hours, depending on the type of opioid medication.

Generally, acetaminophen is well tolerated. Serious side effects can occur when more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen is taken, including liver damage. Side effects of opioids include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light-headedness, sweating, constipation, extreme drowsiness, and breathing problems, especially when taking more than the recommended amount. Drowsiness, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting are common side effects of medications that contain both acetaminophen and codeine.

Talk to your doctor for more information on treating AS with pain relievers.