Which Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers Are Right for You?

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You said that you have had for .

Based on your answers, here are some things to consider when choosing an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever.

Before reviewing your results, note that this quiz does not account for every medical condition or every situation that needs to be considered when selecting an OTC pain reliever. Be sure to talk to a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.

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NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, magnesium salicylate, and naproxen sodium.

Combination pain relievers are any pain relievers that contain acetaminophen and NSAIDs. Some combination pain relievers contain additional ingredients, such as caffeine, which have their own warnings.

If you aren't sure if you should be taking acetaminophen, an NSAID, or a combination pain reliever, talk to a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional to assess your risk.

What About Topical Pain Relievers?

Topical OTC pain relievers, which you apply to the skin, can be helpful for treating some kinds of pain. They are typically available in the form of sprays, lotions, creams, gels, ointments, patches, and medicated wipes.

Learn more about topical pain relievers

Regardless of today’s quiz results, your personal risk factors may change as you grow older, take different medications, or change your lifestyle habits.

It’s important to read and follow the Drug Facts label on every medication and talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to be sure that you are taking the medication that is right for you.


Note: Acetaminophen and NSAIDs are safe and effective when you follow the directions on the label. Note that the examples listed above do not include every medication that contains acetaminophen or an NSAID.

When using any OTC medication, take the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time possible to treat your symptoms. You should never take more than one medication containing the same kind of active ingredient (acetaminophen or an NSAID) at the same time. Always follow the directions for the specific pain reliever you are taking; the directions for similar pain relievers may be different.

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