There are amazing over-the- counter medicines out there for common, minor problems. Here are a few of the best:
The primary issue that most people seek out relief from is pain. Luckily, there are some very effective pain medicines out there that are sold without a prescription. Here are some of the most effective OTC Medications available in the United States:
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin): this is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medication that was introduced in the 1990s. It has become one of the best selling OTC medicines for fever, and for a very wide variety of pain issues. It is useful for a large spectrum of pain problems but is especially effective for pain secondary to inflammatory problems, such as arthritis and minor injury to a muscle, connective tissue, or bone. It has some significant side effects, especially for the GI tract. It is very hard on the stomach and esophageal linings, and it should always be taken with food or milk for that reason. If there is a history of ulcers in the GU tract, GERD, or other, similar problems with the Gastrointestinal tract, this medicine should be avoided, or carefully monitored by a physician. It also has some blood-thinning properties, but not as significant as its pharmaceutical cousin, aspirin. Great for menstrual cramps, headache, sinusitis pain, toothache, and more.
- Aspirin: The great-granddaddy of NSAIDs, aspirin has been used for hundreds of years, as its basic active ingredient is found in willow bark, and other plants, that medicine men and folk medicine practitioners have been documented to have used for fever and pain all over the world. Aspirin works similarly to ibuprofen, but its blood-thinning capabilities are more profound. It is also very hard on the gut lining. Useful for fever, even for kids (Reye’s Syndrome has been proven to not be connected to aspirin use).
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol): is very safe for infants, children, and adults for fever and pain. The list of side effects is admirably low, but an overdose of Tylenol can lead to significant liver damage and possibly liver failure if the OD is significant.
- Naproxen (Aleve): Another NSAID, this one has a longer-lasting effect. Aleve is great for osteoarthritis, as well as any other minor pain issues like menstrual cramping, headache, or pain related to sunburn and other irritating problems.
Allergy or Sinus Medicines
There are great oral medicines, as well as nasal sprays to help relieve your sinus pressure.
- Nasal Steroid Sprays: Nasacort (triamcinolone), Sinucort (budesonide), and Flonase (fluticasone propionate) are excellent for sinus pain and pressure, stuffed up nose, and runny nose, related to allergic responses from allergens and other primary causes of sinusitis. Usually works with a once a day dosage. If you find you are using it more than once daily, and have chronic problems that cause you to need it for long term problems, you should see a doctor to discuss more long term options for your sinus pain.
- Phenylephrine HCl (Sudafed and others) is found in many cold and sinus pills. It is a very effective decongestant with few serious side effect
- Diphenhydramine HCl (Benadryl): This decongestant is an old standby that has been around for decades. Although it is marvelous for many problems, including as a decongestant, and for allergic itching or hives, it is also found in most OTC sleep aids, because of its ability to make people drowsy. Shouldn’t be taken if you need to drive, or if you need to be alert. Will dry out your mouth and cause extreme thirst, as well.
- Guaifenesin (Mucinex) is also found in various “cold and flu” pills, combined with other drugs in many cases (just like Phenylephrine is). Mucinex is a very useful decongestant.
- Also Read: How to get modafinil
Medicines For “Stomach Problems”
Always see your doctor if abdominal pain is accompanied by fever, vomiting, or severe changes in bowel habits.
- Omeprazole (Prilosec OTC) is one of the best rated of many proton pump inhibitors, medicines that reduce the amount of stomach acid you produce. You should only have to take once a day, at most. Always see a doctor if stomach pain is severe, and lasts over a few days, is accompanied by fever, changes in bowel habits, or vomiting.
- Tums or Rolaids are chewable and for the immediate relief of heartburn. These are safe and reliable, but if you find you are eating them like candy every day, you need to get a check-up.
- Simethicone (Gas-X) is safe and reliable for excess flatus, belching, or bloating
- Pepto-Bismol is a time-tested and reliable tablet or liquid remedy for heartburn, indigestion, or diarrhea. Be aware that this will make your stools look black after use.
The OTC medicines that are available out there are safe, easy to use, and versatile for many common ailments. Always see your doctor if your health concerns do not get better within a few days.