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, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
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 or your child can take 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 (Tylenol) is a non-aspirin pain reliever. It is NOT an NSAID, which is described below.
ASPIRIN and NSAIDS
Talk to your provider or pharmacist before using aspirin or any over-the-counter NSAID if you:
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. Pain management. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 52.
House SA. Pain. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, Heidelbaugh JJ, Lee EM, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2023. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier 2023:35-42.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 10/25/2022
Reviewed By: Frank D. Brodkey, MD, FCCM, Associate Professor, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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