Pain & Fever Facts
Headache, backache, muscle aches, toothache, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and aches and pains—you know when you’re in pain. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and fever reducers (also known as internal analgesics) are medicines that treat both fever and minor pain. Some pain relievers are also labeled for the treatment of migraines.
There are two different categories of analgesics: internal and external. Internal analgesics are pain relievers and fever reducers. These medicines are intended for internal use and are either taken by mouth in the form of pills and liquids or inserted into the rectum in suppository form. External analgesics are topical pain relievers and are not intended to reduce fever. These medicines are for external use only and are applied directly to the outer surface of the body in lotions, sprays, and other forms. Before choosing an OTC analgesic medicine, you should first consider the type of symptoms you have and then determine the best course of treatment.
Pain & Fever Treatments
There are two basic types of OTC medicines that work as pain relievers or fever reducers:
- Acetaminophen, which is also the name of the active ingredient
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include the following active ingredients:
Pain-reliever and fever-reducer active ingredients may also be found in medicines that treat multiple symptoms of the common cold, sleeplessness, or symptoms related to menstruation.