Common OTC pain relievers and what they treat
So if it's time to replenish your medicine cabinet and tackle both acute and chronic pain issues, the following rundown on the most common OTC pain relievers will point you in the right direction!
Here are more details about OTC pain relievers and what they treat:
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
This classification typically refers to drugs that manage mild to moderate pain involving the musculoskeletal system. In addition to pain relief, these drugs have anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing properties, which makes them ideal for alleviating pain relating to joint and muscle issues, headaches, arthritis symptoms, and everyday aches and pains. The most common over-the-counter (OTC) drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen, while more advanced NSAIDs can also be found in prescription form.
For more advanced pain symptoms that NSAIDs may not be able to alleviate, doctors may prescribe opioids for issues that may not respond well to OTC medications. Opioids bind to receptors in the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body to reduce pain by blocking pain signals on their way to the brain. Opioids come in a variety of strengths and prescription levels, but the most common forms include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, acetaminophen, methadone and more.
Pain relievers are also frequently used in tandem to create synergistic effects to combat multiple sites of pain, treat non-pain symptoms, inflammation and even allergic symptoms. Typically, NSAIDs are combined with weaker opioids to attack multiple pain points, or matched with additional drugs to treat multiple symptoms. For instance, antihistamines are typically combined with NSAIDs to reduce allergic symptoms, while providing pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties.
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