Think choosing a non-prescription pain relief medication is simple? Get the facts. Taking the wrong medication can be dangerous. Talk to your doctor and Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacist before taking a pain medication. In the mean time, we’ve put together 6 things everybody should know before taking any type of pain medication.
1. What’s an Analgesic anyway?
Analgesics (pain relief medications) can be used to reduce fever, relieve headaches, body aches and pains, soothe toothaches and cramps, arthritis pain and more.
There are two main types of Analgesics – Antipyretics and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories).
Antipyretics means ‘anti-fever’ and are mainly include acetaminophen.
NSAIDs include ibuprofen, ASA and naproxen sodium.
There are also Analgesics that are available behind the counter – those contain codeine and require a prescription.
2. Do all Analgesics work alike?
No. Let’s say you go to the dentist to treat a toothache. An analgesic that contains ibuprofen is often recommended as most toothache pain is caused by inflammation. Your dentist may also recommend an Analgesic that contains acetaminophen, which is great for reducing fevers.
3. Why you should question your pain?
Pain is actually a symptom. So, before you reach for a bottle of something, try and get to the root of your pain. Is it:
- An injury
- Short term pain
- Chronic pain (long lasting)
- Acute (sharp)
Knowing the cause and type of your pain will make it easier to properly treat it. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications.
Ask an Expert!
The Question: “Should I take pain medication only when I have a lot of pain?” - L. Helmspoon
The Answer: No. Pain is easier to control when it is mild. In fact, waiting too long can actually make pain harder to control. Shoppers Drug Mart Associate-owner, Victor Wong, BScPhm, PharmD, RPh, CDE.
4. What do you factor into your pain?
Pre-existing health issues like liver or kidney pain, ulcers or other bleeding problems, high blood pressure, or heart disease can factor into the pain you experience and the types of medication you should take. If you’re already taking prescription medications or have 3 or more drinks a day – don’t take chances.
For example, if you have ulcers, asthma, take blood thinners, certain blood pressure medications, corticosteroids, oral hypoglycemic agents, or lithium, it is likely that you’ll be advised to avoid medications like ibuprofen, ASA and naproxen sodium.
Always speak to your Pharmacist or Doctor first and have them help you choose the pain relief medicine that is right for you.
5. Why you should always read and follow the label?
Safety. First read the cautions and contraindications to check that the product is safe for you. Make sure you take the correct dose and never exceed the maximum amount per day, unless your Doctor says otherwise.
- Beware of overdosing by mistake – some combination medications, such as back pain relief medications or cough and cold medicines, already contain an analgesic for pain or fever relief.
- Use them as briefly as possible – some prescription pain relief medications are addictive if used long term. Speak to your Doctor if you find that your pain is not gone after a reasonable length of time. There may be other ways to get relief.
6. How do I choose the pain relief medication that’s right for me?
Once you know which ingredient is right for you, how do you choose from the many different types, shapes and sizes?
Enteric coated products: these dissolve in your intestines and not in your stomach (avoiding upset)
Film coated products: these are easier to swallow than uncoated versions
Liquid filled capsules: dissolve rapidly so they go to work faster
Life Brand has a wide range of top quality, clearly labeled products to help you get the most out of your pain relief medication. Just select the shape and type that you find easiest to take. And, ask your Pharmacist to help you make the right choice.