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Over-the-counter pain relievers

Medicines for pain non-narcotic; Drugs for pain non-narcotic; Analgesics; Acetaminophen; NSAID; Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug; Pain medicine - over-the-counter; Pain medicine - OTC

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help relieve pain or lower a fever. Over-the-counter means you can buy these medicines without a prescription.

The most common types of OTC pain medicines are acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

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Pain medications

Information

Pain medicines are also called analgesics. Each kind of pain medicine has benefits and risks. Some types of pain respond better to one kind of medicine than to another kind. What takes away your pain might not work for someone else.

Taking pain medicines before exercising is OK. But do not overdo the exercise just because you have taken the medicine.

Read labels to learn how much medicine you can give your child at one time and during the whole day. This is known as the dosage. Talk to your pharmacist or your child’s health care provider if you are not sure about the correct amount. Do not give children medicine that is meant for adults.

Other tips for taking pain medicines:

ACETAMINOPHEN

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is known as a non-aspirin pain reliever. It is NOT an NSAID, which is described below.

PRECAUTIONS

NSAIDS

PRECAUTIONS

Talk to your provider or pharmacist before using any over-the-counter NSAID if you:

Related Information

Lymphangitis

References

Aronson JK. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:236-272.

Dinakar P. Principles of pain management. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 54.

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Review Date: 10/12/2018  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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