Picking the Right Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever

Picking the pain reliever that’s best for you can be a confusing task. Pharmacy and supermarket shelves are lined with a dizzying array of boxes, names and labels describing the symptoms the medications are intended to address.

While they all share the same goal, making you feel better, their active ingredients vary, and all have potential drawbacks.

Dr. Robert A. Duarte, director of the Pain Center at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y., cautioned that consumers should not be lulled into thinking that over-the-counter pain relievers are free from potential harm just because they are available on store shelves.

Sales of over-the-counter medications exceeded $30 billion in 2015, with pain relievers ranking near the top, according to industry statistics.

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