Explanation of terms

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

An NSAID is a type of drug that reduces inflammation and pain. Examples of NSAIDs used for treating acute painful sickle cell episodes include aspirin, diclenofac and ibuprofen.


A type of painkiller used for moderate to severe pain. Morphine is an example of a strong opioid that is used for treating severe pain in people with an acute painful sickle cell episode. Weak opioids used for treating moderate pain include codeine and dihydrocodeine.

Pain scoring tool

A way of measuring how severe a person's pain is. There are several types, including number scales and questionnaires. A version for children (called the FACES scale) involves asking the child to look at pictures of faces and point to the one that best reflects how their pain makes them feel.

Sickle cell carriers

Sickle cell disease is caused by an inherited change to a gene (a 'genetic mutation') that affects the structure of haemoglobin (a protein found in red blood cells). People with sickle cell disease have two copies of the changed gene. A person that has one copy of the changed gene is called a sickle cell carrier, and does not experience acute painful sickle cell episodes.

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