5 things you can do to choose the right type of OTC pain reliever for you

5 things you can do to choose the right type of OTC pain reliever for you

(BPT) – To alleviate everyday aches and pains, from headaches to muscle aches, it’s highly likely you’ve reached into your medicine cabinet for an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. With almost all of us relying on OTCs for safe and effective pain relief, it’s essential that everyone knows how to choose the type of pain reliever that is right for them as an individual. But a new survey suggests that may not be the case.

A full one in five Americans do not consider any key safety factors when choosing which OTC pain reliever to take, according to a national survey conducted by the U.S. Pain Foundation with support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Though 97 percent say they feel confident when choosing which pain reliever to take, more than half of Americans don’t even consider their pre-existing medical conditions before reaching for an OTC, and two in three do not consider other OTC medications they are taking.

Medical professionals say keeping your personal health profile in mind is crucial in selecting which OTC pain reliever is most appropriate for you. It’s easy to reach for the first OTC you see on your shelf, but not every OTC is appropriate for everyone. For example, if you have existing stomach conditions, or if you are over the age of 60, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk of stomach bleeding.

Dr. David Biondi, senior director of Medical Affairs & Clinical Research at McNeil Consumer Healthcare explains, “Not every OTC pain reliever is appropriate for everyone. When you’re in pain, it’s always important to consider your current health profile first. A pain reliever that was right for you in the past may not be the right choice for you now.”

Paul Gileno, the founder of the U.S. Pain Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving those who live with pain conditions, says finding the right balance between effective relief and safety considerations is the key to making the right choice. “When choosing an OTC pain reliever, consumers should always consider their age, current health conditions, and other medicines they are taking,” he says. “People with pre-existing medical conditions, or those that are currently taking other medicines, need to be especially careful when choosing an OTC medication for pain relief.”

In order to make more informed decisions when choosing which OTC is appropriate for them, consumers can follow these five tips for choosing and using OTCs:

1. Choose the OTC pain reliever that’s right for you based on your health profile (pre-existing health conditions, age, or other medicines). When in doubt, always ask your health care provider.

2. Always read and follow the Drug Facts label – whether it’s the first time or the 100th time. Drug Facts labels change and so does our health.

3. Stick to the recommended dose and keep track of other medicines you are taking and how they might interact.

4. Know the active ingredient in your medicine and be sure to take only one medicine that contains the same type of active ingredient at a time.

5. Avoid taking OTC pain relievers longer than directed on the label, unless told to do so by your healthcare provider.

Get Relief Responsibly is a national education initiative from McNeil Consumer Healthcare to encourage the safe and responsible use of OTC pain relievers. For more information and resources, visitwww.GetReliefResponsibly.com.