Nonprescription Medicines and Products (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
There are dozens of pain-relief products. Most contain either aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. These three drugs, as well as naproxen, relieve pain and reduce fever. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen also relieve inflammation. They belong to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
When you buy pain relievers, keep in mind that generic products are chemically equivalent to more expensive brand-name products, and they usually work equally well.
Aspirin is widely used for relieving pain and reducing fever in adults. It also relieves minor itching and reduces swelling and inflammation. Aspirin comes as adult-strength (325 mg) or low-dose (81 mg). Although it seems familiar and safe, aspirin is a very powerful drug.
Other aspirin uses
In addition to relieving pain and inflammation, aspirin is effective against many other ailments. Because of the danger of side effects and the interactions aspirin may have with other medicines, do not try these uses of aspirin without a doctor's supervision.
Heart attack and stroke: Aspirin in low but regular doses may help prevent heart attacks and strokes in certain people. For more information, see:
Migraines: Regular, low-dose aspirin use may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. For more information, see the topic Migraine Headaches.
Other pain relievers
Ibuprofen (the active ingredient in products such as Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (in products such as Aleve) are other NSAIDs. Like aspirin, these drugs relieve pain and reduce fever and inflammation. Also like aspirin, they can cause nausea, stomach irritation, and heartburn.
NSAID precautions (Also see Aspirin precautions)
Acetaminophen (the active ingredient in products such as Tylenol) reduces fever and relieves pain. It does not have the anti-inflammatory effect of NSAIDS, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, but it also does not cause stomach upset and other side effects.
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