Over the Counter Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers

Some of the most commonly used medicines around are to treat pain and fever. People use them frequently, often without stopping to think if they are safe or really necessary. There are several types of medicines available to help with pain relief and to bring down fevers. If you aren't sure which over the counter pain reliever or fever reducer is right for you and your symptoms, we can help. Not every medicine is right for every person. Find out what your options are and the pros and cons of each.


Tylenol (acetaminophen)

Tylenol tablets
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Tylenol is usually considered the safest pain reliever and fever reducer available. It is marketed for use in children as young as 2 months old. However, it can cause liver damage if too much is taken or you have certain diseases.

Although it is widely available (known as paracetamol in many countries outside of the US), it is also one of the most commonly overdosed medicines as well. If you are using acetaminophen, be sure not to take more than indicated on the label or by your health care provider. 


Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen)

Ibuprofen tablets medicine
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Advil and Motrin are both brand names for ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). That means that it helps reduce swelling (and pain) but it is not a steroid. Ibuprofen is great for sore muscles, sore throats and can also be very effective at bringing down fevers. It can be used in children as young as six months


Aleve (naproxen)

aleve pills
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Aleve is the brand name for naproxen. Naproxen is another NSAID, similar to ibuprofen. Naproxen works differently than ibuprofen, but it has the same effect. Both are effective pain relievers and fever reducers. Find out if Aleve is right for you.



Bottle of aspirin
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Aspirin can be an effective pain reliever and fever reducer. It is sold under many brand names, including Bayer and Ecotrin. Aspirin not only relieves pain, fevers and swelling, it also reduces the blood's ability to clot. Many people take low doses of aspirin to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

Aspirin should never be given to a child or teenager unless specifically directed by his doctor because it may cause a potentially fatal complication known as Reye's syndrome.

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