Taking over the counter pain relievers safely, from the September 2013 Harvard Women's Health Watch

For aching joints or a throbbing head, millions of Americans turn to aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) every day. They are generally safe, but if not used carefully NSAIDs can have a dark side, according to the September 2013 Harvard Women's Health Watch. NSAIDs are widely used because they perform double duty. "They not only relieve pain, but they reduce inflammation too," says Dr. Lucy Chen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and attending physician in the anesthesia, critical care, and pain medicine department at Massachusetts General Hospital. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of chemicals in the body that contribute to pain and inflammation. Yet like all medications, NSAIDs have side effects and NSAIDs may not be right for everyone.
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