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MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was built as an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends.

MedlinePlus presents high-quality, easy to understand, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted.

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MedlinePlus at a Glance

  • Offers information on health topics, human genetics, medical tests, medications, dietary supplements, and healthy recipes.
  • Sourced from more than 1,600 selected organizations.
  • Provides 40,000 links to authoritative health information in English and 18,000 links to information in Spanish.
  • In 2018, 277 million users viewed MedlinePlus more than 700 million times.

Pain Relievers

Pain relievers are medicines that reduce or relieve headaches, sore muscles, arthritis, or other aches and pains. There are many different pain medicines, and each one has advantages and risks. Some types of pain respond better to certain medicines than others. Each person may also have a slightly different response to a pain reliever.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are good for many types of pain. There are two main types of OTC pain medicines: acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are examples of OTC NSAIDs.

If OTC medicines don't relieve your pain, your doctor may prescribe something stronger. Many NSAIDs are also available at higher prescription doses. The most powerful pain relievers are opioids. They are very effective, but they can sometimes have serious side effects. There is also a risk of opioids. Because of the risks, you must use them only under a doctor's supervision.

There are many things you can do to help ease pain. Pain relievers are just one part of a pain treatment plan.