The last 100 years have been more comfortable for humankind as a result of the discovery and availability of over-the-counter pain relievers (or analgesics). This year marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of aspirin by Bayer. It was not until 1955 that acetaminophen (Tylenol) became available over-the-counter (OTC) in the United States. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) joined the over-the-counter arsenal 19 years later. And 1994 and 1995 brought U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of OTC naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis KT), respectively. Today, there are many choices of pain relievers and fever medications, but selecting one does not have to be a headache!
Each of these medications has been proved safe and effective, and in most cases, any one of them would be a reliable choice for pain relief and/or fever reduction. However, there are unique properties and differences that make specific products more desirable for certain conditions or individuals. This report will provide information that will help readers differentiate among and select appropriate OTC pain relievers. It will review the effectiveness and safety of the five pain medications currently approved for OTC use. In addition, it will alert readers to side effects, drug interactions, and conditions under which certain medications should not be used. Finally, relatively new and potential future uses will be discussed.
Making Sense of Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
By ACSH Staff — January 2, 2000
By ACSH Staff