Available over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and aspirin, according to WebMD. Advil and Motrin IB are brand-name versions of ibuprofen. Aleve is the brand-name version of naproxen sodium. Brand names, such as Excedrin, Bayer and Bufferin, sell aspirin. NSAIDs help to reduce mild aches, pain, fever and inflammation.
NSAIDs block certain enzymes related to the body's pain response, explains WebMD. NSAIDs are one of two major types of over-the-counter pain relievers, the other being acetaminophen, which is also known by its brand name, Tylenol.
Patients generally use NSAIDs to treat headaches, arthritis, sports injuries, ankylosing spondylitis and menstrual cramps, states MedicineNet. Ankylosing spondylitis refers to a type of chronic inflammation in the spine.
Common side effects of NSAIDs include stomach pain, nausea, heartburn and diarrhea, states WebMD. Serious but uncommon side effects include stomach ulcers and bleeding, increased blood pressure and allergic reactions, such as hives, swelling and shortness of breath. Children and teenagers recovering from viral infections, such as the flu, should not take aspirin, as it may cause Reye's syndrome, which can cause kidney, liver and brain damage.
NSAIDs sometimes causes heart problems and increase blood pressure, according to WebMD. On the other hand, doctors sometimes advise patients to use low doses of aspirin to help prevent heart attacks and stroke.