With a temperature above 98.6° F, headache, sweating, chills, dehydration, weakness, and aches and pains—you know you have a fever. Over-the-counter (OTC) fever reducers and pain relievers (also known as internal analgesics) are medicines that treat both fever and minor pain.
Internal analgesics 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. These come in a variety of different forms, including tablets, capsules, liquid solutions, and syrup.
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:
NOTE: For information about the updated cardiovascular warning on non-aspirin NSAIDs packaging, click here.
Before choosing an OTC medicine to treat your fever, you should first consider the type of symptoms you have and then determine the best course of treatment.
Consumers should be aware that 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. It is important to check your medicine labels and be sure to take only one medicine containing the same kind of active ingredient (acetaminophen or NSAID) at a time.
Check out this tool to learn more about the things you need to keep in mind when choosing and using an OTC pain reliever. And remember to always read and follow the Drug Facts label, and talk to your healthcare professional if you have questions or concerns before taking an OTC medicine to treat your pain or fever.