DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

Pain Management Over-The-Counter

MedicineNet.com: Welcome to Doctors Dialogue, featuring the doctors of MedicineNet.com. This segment features Dr. Dennis Lee, Board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, and Dr. William Shiel, Board certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. Dr. Lee will be asking Dr. Shiel pertinent viewer submitted pain management-related questions.

Dr. Lee: Many pain medications are available over-the-counter (without a prescription, or OTC) in the U.S. for short-term relief of joint pain, muscle aches, headache, menstrual cramps, and fever. These OTC analgesics are generally well tolerated and safe when used properly. But side effects do occur and in some instances can be serious. Today, we will ask Dr. William Shiel how to use these analgesics properly in order to minimize risks and side effects. We will also ask him to compare traditional pain relievers with the newer pain relievers, the selective COX-2 inhibitors.

What pain medications are available in this country without a doctor's prescription?

Dr. Shiel: There are two major classes of pain relievers available in this country without prescription; they are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Dr. Lee: What are Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs?