OTC remedies help ease tension headache, backache, arthritis pain


Where does it hurt? Chances are, someone has come up with a treatment for that.

Pharmacists are in an ideal position to provide over-the-counter (OTC) solutions for various types of pain. This month we offer some oral and topical remedies, including heat therapy, for the temporary relief of pain caused by headaches, backache, arthritis, joint pain, and muscle pain.

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Headache pain and more

For fast relief of tension heachaches, which affect the head, neck, and shoulders, consider Excedrin Tension Headache by Novartis. This oral agent combines a 500-mg dose of acetaminophen with 65 mg of caffeine - the equivalent of the caffeine content of one cup of coffee. For adults and children 12 years of age and older, the recommended dose is two caplets every six hours or a maximum daily dose of six caplets in 24 hours. Patients should be warned that severe liver damage may occur if the six-caplet maximum dose is exceeded. (www.excedrin.com) (Product image courtesy of Novartis)

Last year, Bayer HealthCare launched Aleve PM, which combines naproxen sodium, 220 mg, with diphen-hydramine HCl (25 mg), for nighttime pain relief. The manufacturer calls it “the first over-the-counter PM product with a safe sleep aid plus the 12-hour pain-relieving strength of Aleve for pain relief that can last until the morning.” The recommended and maximum dose for adults and children 12 years and older is two caplets taken at bedtime with a full glass of water. If the product is consumed with food, the manufacturer notes, the pain-relieving effect will be delayed. (www.alevepm.com) (Product image courtesy of Bayer HealthCare)

EuroPharma’s Terry Naturally line has just introduced a new pain relief product, Curamin PM, for relieving pain and helping obtain a good night’s sleep. The formulation contains BCM-95 curcumin, which is absorbed 10 times better than the plain curcumin extracts; BosPur Boswellia for reducing beta-boswellic acid; DLPA (DL-phenylalanine) to support mood; melatonin to help with the circadian rhythm, and vitamin B6. Consumers should take one to two capsules about 30 minutes before bedtime (www.europharmausa.com). (Product image courtesy of EuroPharma)


Topical treatments

For more targeted relief, Johnson & Johnson’s Bengay Zero Degrees Menthol Pain Relieving Gel helps soothe pain immediately with itsactive ingredient, menthol 5%. This topical agent is indicated for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints, which are associated with backache, arthritis pain, strains and sprains, and bruises. The topical treatment can be applied three to four times daily for adults and children 12 year and older. If pain lasts for more than seven days or worsens, patient should consult a physician (www.bengay.com/bengay_zero_degrees_gel). (Product image courtesy of Johnson & Johnson)

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Penetran Plus

pain relief lotion from Penetran Products Inc. is a multipurpose pain relief topical treatment that can be used for arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, and muscle pain. It can also be used to reduce inflammation and pain from burns, bites, bruises, stings, and abrasions, according to the manufacturer. Penetran Plus with its quaternary ammonium compounds works by interfering with pain-signal transmissions. Its formulation includes methylsulfonylmethane for enhanced penetration and a natural cold-pressed lemon oil for a pleasant scent. The product is available in a 2.5-ounce tube, 8-ounce bottle, and 0.25-ounce travel-size packet


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Product image courtesy of Penetran Products


Arthritis pain can be crippling and prescription drugs are not the only answer. Baker’s Best Arthritis Pain Relief Cream from Baker’s Best Health is a blend of methyl salicylate, menthol, lidocaine HCl, aloe vera gel, and emu oil. For quick relief of muscle aches, stiff joints, and back pain, apply to affected area three to four times daily in adults and children 12 years and older. The product should not be used with other topical products or heating pads, according to the manufacturer. (www.bakersbesthealth.com)

CobraZol Topical Roll-on Gel by CobraZol delivers deep-penetrating relief wherever it is applied. The manufacturer states that about 20 to 30 minutes after its application, consumers will feel its effects, which continue for 8 to 10 hours. CobraZol, formulated with capsaicin, arnica, and curcumin, can be used to treat chronic pain in the lower back, arthritis, joint pain, muscle aches, neck pain, and neuralgia. It is available in 1-, 2-, and 3-ounce packages. (www.cobrazol.com)


Heat therapy

Various sorts of heat therapy have been used to provide relief to pain for years. From hot baths to hot water bottles to heating pads, these therapeutic approaches have offered great relief for sore backs, muscles, and joints. Heat can reduce the transmission of pain signals to the brain and, by dilating the blood vessels, help increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.

ThermaCare Heatwraps offer a nonpharmacologic approach to help ease muscle pain. ThermaCare has developed a Multi-Purpose Joint Heatwrap that keeps a constant temperature for up to 8 hours wherever it is placed. Its versatile X-shaped design conforms and adapts to different parts of the body to relieve pain and stiffness at the joints and for arthritis sufferers. The wraps are secured with four adhesive points and are thin enough to be placed under clothing, according to the manufacturer, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare (www.thermacare.com)

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