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Painkiller Differences

Every painkiller is different. Over-the-counter painkillers vary what they help relieve and in the precautions needed to take them safely. Acetaminophen is often used to relieve headaches, muscle aches, and arthritis pain- it fights pain, but doesn't reduce inflammation. It could lead to liver damage if taken over a long period of time, or liver failure if too much is taken.

Drugs that reduce inflammation belong to another type of OTC painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The three main types are Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Aspirin. There are some side effects of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including stomach irritation and possible kidney damage after long term use.

Dr. Preeti Parikh

This video features Dr. Preeti Parikh. Dr. Preeti Parikh is a Board-Certified Pediatrician with special interests in preventive medicine, advocacy and patient education.

Duration: 02:14.
Reviewed by: Dr. Preeti Parikh . Review date: March 24, 2015
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