When body pain sets in, the initial reaction of most people is to take one of those over-the-counter pain relievers. These pain relievers, or analgesics, do not cause addiction; they are considered safe to take even without a prescription.
But these over-the-counter pain relievers are not entirely risk-free. When used improperly or taken over long periods of time, they can cause serious side effects. A common example is when one tries to self-medicate with these pain relievers and in the process masks more serious symptoms that otherwise need immediate medical attention or treatment.
Although there are numerous brand names of pain relievers one can choose from, we have to understand that there are basically only two types of pain relievers that are considered nonnarcotic. One is acetaminophen, an example of which is the brand name Tylenol. Under the other type are the NSAIDs, short for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs that can be obtained over the counter include ibuprofen (example is the brand name Advil) and acetylsalicylic acid, or ASA (example is the brand name Anacin), while NSAIDs that require prescription include ketoprofen (example is the brand name Oruvail) and naproxen sodium (example is the brand name Aleve).
Ibuprofen, which is known to have a stronger effect than aspirin, is usually recommended for more acute pains, such as those caused by sprains or arthritis. Be warned though that for cases of swelling, these NSAIDs should not be taken for more than five days without a doctor’s advice. For women with menstrual cramps, ibuprofen is the preferred medication.
Acetylsalicylic acid remains to be one of the most reliable and least expensive drugs for body pain. Most headache sufferers prefer these NSAIDs because they act faster than any other pain relievers. Adults who experience such pains, as those brought about by joint or dental problems, can safely take these NSAIDs. Children, on the other hand, can take acetylsalicylic acid but should be in lesser doses.
Ketoprofen and naproxen sodium are much like ibuprofen; however, a single dose of these NSAIDs can last up to twelve hours.
When choosing a medication to relieve body pain, its side effects should always be taken into consideration. All of the NSAIDs mentioned here can cause stomach disorders, particularly in the elderly. This is because NSAIDs inhibit the production of prostaglandin – any of the lipid compounds derived enzymatically from fatty acids – thereby depriving the stomach lining of the very substance that protects it against ulcers. In order to avoid this problem, NSAIDs should be taken with food.