What are the most OTC pain relievers and what do they treat? And, can I still buy these with my Flexible Spending Account? Read more on the blog about that.
Ever wonder how your flexible spending account (FSA) can help you cover over-the-counter (OTC) medication? Thanks to the passage of the CARES Act in 2020, over-the-counter medicines are now fully eligible (no prescription required) and feminine care products are now FSA-/HSA-eligible.
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.
If you need pain relievers or anything else to support you and your loved ones' good health, be sure to visit FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you make the most of your healthcare benefits!
Update: As of March 2020 with the passage of the CARES Act, the OTC Rx requirement has been repealed and prescriptions are no longer necessary to purchase over-the-counter medicines with an FSA or HSA. Additionally, menstrual care products like tampons and pads are fully FSA-/HSA-eligible. Learn more here.
All this talk about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often referred to as PPACA, ACA, or Obamacare) brings a lot of questions about changes.
The ACA creates a rule for processing medical expenses - particularly over-the-counter medicines or drugs. Since Jan. 1, 2011, over-the-counter medicines and drugs require a prescription for FSA reimbursement. The IRS discusses questions about ACA changes on OTC medicines here.
For example, if you're looking to buy Advil or Aleve, you'd need a prescription in order to use your FSA funds. You can still buy insulin without a prescription, since it's the only medicine to which the rule does not apply.
If however, you want to buy non-medicines, you can still get thousands of products without a prescription. Browse FSAstore.com for the largest selection of FSA eligible products you can buy with an FSA card!