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What are the common types of pain relievers?

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Quick Answer

Common pain relievers include acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen, states MedlinePlus. Narcotics are the most powerful painkillers and must be prescribed by a doctor.

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Over-the-counter medicines are commonly used to relieve headaches, arthritis, sore muscles and general aches and pains, notes MedlinePlus. Motrin and Advil are two OTC brands containing ibuprofen, and Aleve contains naproxen. OTC painkillers are also used to reduce fever and treat cold and flu symptoms, reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Common prescription pain relievers include morphine, oxycodone, codeine and hydrocodone, notes FDA. These powerful narcotics, derived from opium, can lead to addiction or overdose, and medical supervision is required.

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