OTC Pain Relief: Which Is Safest?

Different types of over the counter pain pills scattered on a surfaceWhen you have a painful joint or tension headache and go to your pharmacy for pain relief, you can be easily overwhelmed with the options for over-the-counter medication (OTC). There are the standards: Aspirin, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and Tylenol, and then there are a host of generic choices that contain the active ingredient from these same best selling brands.

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There has been a lot of talk lately about the dangerous side effects of these medications. Too much Tylenol can cause liver damage, Motrin can be bad for your heart, and Aleve can cause bleeding ulcers. So how do you decide which is best to take?

Unfortunately the answer is complicated. These medications are frequently assumed to be safe merely because they are available without a doctor’s prescription. But the reality is any medication, in the wrong circumstance or at the wrong dose, has the potential to cause harm.