What Are The Most Common Over-The-Counter Painkillers?

What are the most common over-the-counter painkillers?

Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers are those that you can buy at a store or pharmacy without a prescription from your doctor. These include aspirin, low-dose codeine, paracetamol, and ibuprofen.

Uses of Over-the-Counter Painkillers

You can get pain relief from over-the-counter painkillers. They can relieve short-term (acute), mild-to-moderate pain like headaches, period pain, muscle and joint aches, and toothaches.

  • lower a fever, like if you have a cold or the flu.
  • treat pain that lasts for a long time, like pain from arthritis or back pain (though only if a healthcare professional advises you to)

What are the Main Painkillers You Can Buy Over-the-Counter?

The main painkillers you can buy over-the-counter are:

  • Painkillers that are not opioids, such as paracetamol (e.g. Panadol and Calpol)
  • NSAIDs, like ibuprofen (e.g., Nurofen) and aspirin, are pain relievers that don’t contain steroids.
  • Codeine and other weak opioid painkillers are usually mixed with other painkillers like paracetamol (e.g. Panadol Ultra).

How Can you Buy over the Counter?

How you feel pain is complicated. Not only do your nerves and brain play a role, but so do your feelings. Your pain is different from anyone else’s, and your situation and mood can change how much pain you feel.

Different painkillers work in different ways. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other anti-inflammatory pills work by changing how your body reacts to pain and swelling. Unlike painkillers other than OTC: Aspadol 100mg, Prosoma 350mg, Prosoma 500mg, Pain O Soma 350mg, Top Dol 100mg and any other medicine with prescriptions works too.

Pain Relief
Pain Relief

However, Some of these are aspirin and ibuprofen. Mild opiate painkillers like codeine work by stopping the brain and spinal cord from sending pain signals. Doctors don’t know exactly how paracetamol works, but they think it may stop your brain from getting pain signals.

Because painkillers work in different ways, some products have more than one kind of painkiller in them. Codeine can be mixed with things like aspirin or paracetamol. If you’re taking more than one painkiller, read the information sheets that come with them to make sure you don’t take too much. 

Taking Over-the-Counter Painkillers

Start by taking a non-opiate painkiller (like paracetamol) or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) if you have mild to moderate pain (such as ibuprofen). Take it regularly, up to the highest amount suggested. If that doesn’t help and the pain is still there, try a weak opiate like codeine. If that doesn’t help, you should talk to your pharmacist or doctor.

Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers come in a number of different forms, such as:

  • You can swallow tablets, caplets (longer tablets with rounded ends that may be easier to swallow), or capsules.
  • a tablet or powder that can be dissolved in water
  • a liquid or syrup
  • suppositories are soft, shaped tablets that you put in your anus.
  • You rub or spray gels or sprays into your skin.
  • Skin patches that you put on

You don’t need a prescription from your doctor to buy  any over-the-counter painkiller from a pharmacy, supermarket, or other store. You can only buy paracetamol in packs of 16 tablets from a store or grocery store. 

A pack of 32 tablets or capsules of paracetamol can get from a pharmacist. You can’t buy more than 100 pills or capsules at a time from stores or pharmacies. This is to help keep people from taking too much or taking too many by accident.

How much to take

Below are the amounts of the main over-the-counter medicines that an adult should take. Painkillers like paracetamol can be find in some other kinds of medicine. So, if you need any painkiller, carefully read the labels on other medicines. Seek advice if you’re unsure.

Painkiller: Paracetamol

How much to take: 500 mg to 1,000 mg every four to six hours (usually one or two tablets). You shouldn’t take more than 4,000mg (eight 500mg tablets) in a 24-hour period. See the Frequently Asked Questions for information on what to do if you take more than this: If I take too much paracetamol, what should I do? Many flu medicines contain paracetamol, so check the information sheet that comes with your medicine to find out how much to take.

Painkiller: Aspirin

Take between 300 mg and 900 mg every four to six hours. Avoid taking more than 4,000 mg in a day.

Painkiller: Ibuprofen

Take between 200 mg and 400 mg three to four times a day. Don’t take more than 1,200mg in a day. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Take ibuprofen or aspirin with food or milk or after. This will help keep your stomach from getting sick. NSAID creams and gels can be rubbed on your skin three times a day. But don’t put them near your eyes or mouth or on skin that is broken or infected.

Painkiller: Codeine (co-codamol)

How much to take: You can’t buy codeine over the counter by itself. It can only be bought with paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen, and only at its lowest dose. Co-codamol is a combination of 8 mg of codeine and 500 mg of paracetamol. Every four to six hours you can take one to two tablets to work. You shouldn’t take more than eight capsules in a day. And make sure to take into account any other painkillers with a single ingredient that you are taking at the same time.

Always read the information sheet that comes with your medicine, and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist. Take codeine-based painkillers for no more than three days. 

Taking too much (Overdose)

If you take too much of any medicine, it can hurt you. If you take too much paracetamol, it can damage your liver in a way that could kill you. Sometimes, you don’t feel sick until a day or two later.

If you take too many NSAIDs, you might feel sick or get hearing problems like tinnitus. If you take too much aspirin, you may hyperventilate (breathe too quickly) and have trouble hearing. You may also sweat a lot.

If you think you’ve taken too much medicine, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Interactions of over-the-counter painkillers

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can interact with a number of other drugs, such as those to treat depression, lower blood pressure, and stop blood clots (e.g. warfarin). Before you take NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen, talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you are taking any other medicines.

Don’t drink alcohol or take sleep aids if you’re on codeine-based medicine. They can make you very sleepy and make it hard to breathe.

No other medicine is affected by paracetamol.

Conclusion: What are the common and best OTC painkillers

  • It depends on who is taking the medicine and what it is being used for. All three of these medicines can help with mild to moderate pain.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective in treating pain that causes inflammation. They also help with pain that causes a fever. This means that they can help ease the pain of arthritis and other conditions or injuries where there is inflammation. 
  • There are also gels and creams that you put on your skin that are NSAIDs. This means that they can help treat certain parts of your body, like your knees, hands, and back.

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