Important Information About Pain Relievers

Analgesics are medication that help control pain including headaches, muscle aches, arthritis pain, menstrual pain, and pain due to colds and flu. There are two main types of over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics sold in Canada: acetaminophen (e.g., TYLENOL® brand products) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or “NSAIDs”. NSAIDs include acetylsalicylic acid or “ASA” (e.g., ASPIRIN®, ANACIN® brand products), ibuprofen (e.g., ADVIL®, MOTRIN® brand products) and naproxen (e.g., ALEVE®, ALEVE® Liquid Gels).

While all OTC analgesics work toward similar goals, there are key differences between these drugs in terms of side effects, dosing and mode of action. It is important to learn the differences between these drugs before you take them and always carefully read and follow the label instructions.

Common side effects with OTC analgesics

As with all medications, OTC analgesics have potential side effects in certain populations. Remember to refer to the product label and ask your doctor before starting any new medications.

Maximum daily doses
Who should NOT take OTC Analgesics
OTC Analgesics, Children and Pregnancy

Did you know…?

You should not take more than one NSAID at a time. For example, if you are taking low-dose ASPIRIN® (i.e., ASPIRIN® 81 mg) for long-term preventative therapy, it should NOT be combined with another NSAID (such as Advil® and Aleve®)