Painkillers – how to choose strong and non-prescription painkillers

It is always better to have painkillers and fever reducers at home. We use them when we have a headache, stomach ache or menstrual cramps. Some are more effective at relieving pain, others work faster, but they all work. How do you choose when you need a strong painkiller?

Which is the best painkiller

You should talk to your GP, doctor or pharmacist to help you decide, as there are many factors to consider.

For some, the active ingredient is important, for others it is the speed and duration of action, for others it is the risk of side effects or the form of the medicine (liquid, solid, cream).

Generally speaking, narcotic opioid painkillers are the strongest, but they require a prescription and are only prescribed by doctors for unbearable pain.

Non-prescription medicines include paracetamol, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, acetylsalicylic acid and methamizole.

They are all effective in relieving different types of pain at the right dose, but when it comes to how quickly they work, it is not the active ingredient but the form of the medicine (powder, tablet, suspension, sugar-coated tablet) that is important.

It makes a difference whether a drug is taken as a tablet or a soft capsule. The shorter the time it takes for the active ingredient to be released, the quicker the desired effect will occur. Soft capsules, such as Algoflex Rapid, are absorbed more quickly, so they start to relieve fever and pain sooner than a hard tablet version.

Best painkiller for headache

Painkillers by complaint

Menstrual painkiller

This type of painkiller is usually a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Multi-active medicines (such as ibuprofen and drotaverine) are very effective at reducing menstrual pain and relieving lower abdominal cramps.

Painkillers for cold

Soluble powders work best for colds. There are several types of cold medicine, such as acetaminophen (paracetamol), ibuprofen or aspirin. These medicines can relieve sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fever.

Painkillers for toothache and headaches

For headaches and toothaches, fast-acting medicines are recommended. Ibuprofen and paracetamol can be effective for headaches and toothaches. Ibuprofen can help relieve headaches and toothaches by reducing inflammation, while paracetamol affects the perception of pain.

Painkiller for joint pain

Slow-release medicines are recommended for joint pain. Corticosteroids can also be effective in treating arthritis.

Pain is a symptom, not a disease, so always try to find the cause. Even if the first thing you do is order an over-the-counter medicine from the pharmacy, it is important to see your doctor with your symptoms.

Strong painkillers

Strong painkillers are usually opioids, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or morphine, which are effective for relieving severe pain. However, these drugs have a higher risk of addiction and side effects than weaker painkillers and should only be used under medical supervision.

Strong painkillers should only be used when other, weaker painkillers have not worked, and you should always follow your doctor’s instructions for correct dosage and management of possible side effects.

Strong painkillers available without a prescription usually contain codeine, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, which can be effective for mild to moderate pain such as headaches, menstrual cramps, toothaches, muscle aches or fever. However, it is important to follow the dosage instructions as overdosing can cause serious side effects, such as liver damage with paracetamol.

Always seek medical advice if severe pain persists or gets worse.