What You Should Know About OTC Pain Medications

When you are dealing with minor pain, from headaches and toothaches to sore muscles and injuries, relief is important. And thanks to advances in medicine, there are now dozens of commercially available over-the-counter pain medications available to you to help. But since over-the-counter medications are available without a prescription, many casual consumers of OTC pain medication don’t know the basic information about them that a smart and educated consumer ought to have. Here are three things that you should know about over-the-counter pain medications to know how to make smart decisions.

Types of Medications

The first thing that you should know about OTC pain medications is the different types of OTC pain meds that are available to you. The two most popular and widely available options for OTC pain medications are acetaminophen and NSAIDs. NSAIDs are short of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and include things like Aspirin and ibuprofen. Aspirin should not be given to children, but ibuprofen and acetaminophen are acceptable. Understanding how NSAIDs and acetaminophen differ can help you choose the right OTC pain med for you. NSAIDs reduce inflammation and relieve pain, whereas acetaminophen only reduces pain but will not relieve inflammation.

Their Uses

Another important thing that you should know about OTC pain medications is their proper uses. Knowing when to use OTC pain meds is just as important as knowing when not to use them. You can use these medications for minor aches and pains, such as a headache or tooth pain. You can also use OTC pain meds for minor aches and pains in children. But if your pain is more severe and OTC pain meds aren’t relieving your pain you need to talk to your doctor about options. The only safe way to get stronger pain meds is with a prescription from your doctor.

Proper Dosage

The final thing that you need to know about OTC pain meds is the proper dosage. Using too much OTC pain medication or too frequent can have some consequences. You should be careful not to exceed the recommended total dose of 3000mg per day. You should also not take NSAIDs for more than ten days as consequences can develop. Make sure you are always following the bottle’s directions for dosing.

OTC pain medications are a great way to relieve minor aches and pains. But having the proper knowledge is also critical to making smart decisions. If you know these three things, then you are well educated on your OTC pain medications.

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Simon Greenberg

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