OTC Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter (OTC) or non-prescription medicines sold directly to customers without a prescription from healthcare professionals. In many countries, OTC drugs selected by a regulatory agency to ensure that they contain ingredients that are safe and effective when used without a doctor’s advice. Some of the popular OTC medications that are used primarily to treat a condition that does not require the direct supervision of a doctor are headache, arthritis pain, sprains, and other minor joint and muscle problems.

What are the best over the counter pain relievers?

Over the counter pain, medications are often safe and effective, but it is only until you take a certain dose for a recommended time.

Over the counter pain, reliever includes:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil),  naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) or diclofenac gel 

The best Over-the-counter pain relievers are:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Acephen)

Acetaminophen is an OTC medication used to treat pain, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds, and fever. It is generally used as a mild to moderate pain reliever. It is marketed with the trade names Tylenol, Acephen, Fever ALL, etc. It is generally taken with other medications, such as in many cold medications. Read labels if you are taking multiple medications. It is the widely used OTC medication and often used for headaches, fever, and general aches, etc. 

It advised that not to take this medication for pain associated with swelling, as it has no anti-inflammatory effect. Please do not take this medication if you have liver diseases or consume alcohol in high volume.

The recommended dosage is 650-1000 mg every 6 hours as needed. It is typically used either by mouth or rectally but is also available by injection into a vein. The effects last between two and four hours.

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Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin)

Aspirin is an OTC medication used to reduce pain, fever, and inflammation.  As per past research, a lower dosage of Aspirin reduces the risk of death from a heart attack. It is widely used as a pain reliever for minor aches, reduce fever and pains.

Taking a daily low dose of medicine is not safe for everyone. One should avoid taking Aspirin if you are suffering from any of the following conditions:

  • Allergy to aspirin
  • Tendency to bleed
  • Recent bleeding from your digestive tract
  • Active liver disease
  • Under 21 years of age

Never give Aspirin to minors, for it can cause very serious medical consequences. Take advice from your doctor before giving it to children.

The recommended dosage for this pain reliever is 325-650 mg every 4 hours as needed. It has gastrointestinal side effects, please avoid taking Aspirin if you are a chronic smoker or have ulcer disease.

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Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Genpril)

Ibuprofen is an OTC medication of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug class that is used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. This may treat painful menstrual periods, migraines, and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is advised to avoid taking this medicine over the counter if you have any of the following health conditions: heart disease, history of stroke, hypertension, ulcers, asthma, liver or kidney disease and other related diseases. Avoid using Ibuprofen if you are pregnant. It is also advised not to take this medicine if you are taking multiple pain reliever medication at the same time.

The recommended dose is 200-400 mg every 6 hours or as needed.  

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Important Note:

  • If you have any side effects, please contact your health practitioner for detailed information. 
  • The above information is for awareness of health information only; it is advised to consult with your doctor before taking any medication.
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