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There are many over the counter pain relief options available.

The most common being Paracetamol and then a class of pain killers call Non Steroidal  Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

NSAIDs include Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac and Naproxen.

Finally there are also Opioid Analgesics available over the counter in pharmacies. These are stronger than Paracetamol and the NSAIDs. They are usually found in combination products together with either Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.

All these medicines have their advantages and disadvantages and are not suitable for all patients or all types of pain relief.


Suitable from 3mths and over.

It is effective for the treatment of mild to moderate pain (e.g.: headaches) and also to treat fever. Its advantage is that it is suitable for most patients bar those with hepatic (liver) problems. Check with your pharmacist for the correct dosage, which is dependent on patient’s age and to be sure that this medication is safe for you to take.


As the name suggests, these are suitable for pain relief when an anti-inflammatory effect is also required (e.g.: sprains, toothache, sports injuries).  They are also useful in alleviating menstrual pain.

These are not suitable for all patients. They are not to be used by asthmatics, patients with gastric problems or people who suffer from high blood pressure.

Ibuprofen is suitable for patients over 6mths of age.

Aspirin, diclofenac and naproxen are not suitable for patients under the age of 12 yrs.

Always check with a healthcare provider that this medication is safe for you to take!

Opioid Anagesics:

Codeine based pain relief medication are more effective than paracetamol or NSAIDs on their own, but they do have added side-effects.  The most common of which is sedation but they are also addictive and continued or prolonged use is not advisable. 

These are not suitable for children under the age of 12 yrs.

Always ask your pharmacist if this medication is suitable and safe to use.


Any pain symptoms not resolving within a couple of days should be seen by a healthcare professional.

With all types of pain relief it is extremely important to check with your Dr or pharmacist before starting treatment. They will be able to advise you as to which medication is best suited to treat your condition and whether or not it is safe for you.

Always check the labels of over the counter medicines you might be taking as they may contain analgesics (especially cold relief remedies).

Do not share other people’s pain medication under any circumstances!