When it comes to pain relief, are all brands a same?

Combining paracetamol and ibuprofen in one inscription might not be a many cost effective approach to find pain relief.

Combining paracetamol and ibuprofen in one inscription might not be a many cost effective approach to find pain relief.

 As we wandered by my internal supermarket a other day, we found myself in need of some headache tablets.

The array of products was immeasurable – all labelled with their possess particular branding, and many of them earnest utterly conspicuous and specific results. At best, treacherous for consumers. At worst, roughly unfit to interpret – even for a health professional.

In Australia recently, a justice systematic drug hulk Reckitt Benckiser to mislay some of a Nurofen products off pharmacy and supermarket shelves.

The justice found that several products marketed utterly differently (Nurofen Back Pain, Nurofen Period pain, Nurofen Migraine and others) indeed all contained accurately a same volume of active ingredient, ibuprofen, though were being sole during towering prices.

The products were advertised as treating specific forms of pain, notwithstanding carrying a same ingredients.

The products were advertised as treating specific forms of pain, notwithstanding carrying a same ingredients.

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So how do we work out what to buy, and what is good value, when it comes to over-the-counter pain relief?

Well there are several good manners of ride to follow:


* When it comes to drugs, there are two types – general (the active bottom ingredient) or branded (the name given to that drug by a drug association that is selling it). So a entire “Panadol” inscription is indeed a brand, containing 500mg of a active drug paracetamol. There are many other brands of paracetamol tablets and syrup, that will all act in a identical approach – so it is a active part that is important, not a code name.

* The same is loyal of ibuprofen, a active part in Nurofen and some other brands. Most over-the-counter ibuprofen tablets enclose 200mg of a active ingredient, so they should all yield a same turn of pain relief, no matter what a name or wrapping state.

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* Despite this, brands change hugely in cost – infrequently several times some-more costly for a “well-known” brand, compared to a “home or signature-range” brand. A discerning tip is to demeanour during a cost per tablet, that should be documented on a product shelf. This will assistance we work out what product is a best value for money.


* Paracetamol is a first-line in pain use for many people. It works good for many forms of pain, and will work improved if used frequently in a scold dose. The sip for adults is 1gm (so 2 x 500mg tablets) any 6 hours – so a limit of 8 tablets in a 24 hour period. Taking half a sip reduction mostly is not expected to be effective. The sip for children is utterly different, and should be worked out formed on their weight. Nearly everybody can safely take paracetamol – nonetheless it can impact liver function, so people with liver illness or complicated drinkers should equivocate it.

* Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication. People tend to cite it for inflammatory conditions such as duration pain, sports injuries or certain forms of arthritis. Again it is unequivocally effective if used in a right sip – 400mg any 8 hours, a limit of 6 x200mg tablets per day. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories should always be taken with food and should be avoided by people who have stomach or kidney problems. They can also correlate with several other medications, so if we take any unchanging medicine it is a good thought to check with your alloy or a pharmacist first.

* If your pain is severe, mixing paracetamol and ibuprofen will give some-more relief. However, don’t forget a doses are opposite so be clever to remember how many we have taken, so we don’t incidentally overdose.


* For me, this is one of a many treacherous tools when it comes to selecting pain relief. There are countless opposite iterations – tablets, capsules, caplets, gel-coated, enteric-coated, delayed release, quick release, postulated release.

* The choice of “shape” is an particular welfare – some people find capsules or caplets easier to swallow than turn tablets. But there is no disproportion in how they work.

* Enteric-coated tablets are good for people who have stomach problems, such as ulcers or poison reflux, as they have a cloaking that can strengthen a gut.

* Slow or postulated recover options are accessible for ibuprofen products, though not for paracetamol. They can work good if we have ongoing, credentials pain, such as arthritis – though won’t be really useful if we wish a “quick fix” for a migraine for example.

* Other than that, we wouldn’t worry about that form we select – a disproportion is going to be so minimal as to substantially be unnoticeable, and we will compensate additional for a imagination “rapid-delivery” brands.


There are options that mix opposite forms of pain use in one tablet, many ordinarily paracetamol and ibuprofen. Although this can be an effective multiple generally for some-more serious pain, we would inspire we to indeed buy a tablets separately. This gives we some-more coherence around dosing, and is substantially some-more cost-effective too. It also means that we can select to only take one type of pain use if your pain is improving, rather than carrying to take them both.


Children’s bodies don’t act as “little adults”. Their physiology and metabolism are quite different, and overdosing on pain use can be fatal. Any pain use should be given formed on their weight, rather than their age. we would advise we get prescriptions for children’s pain use from your doctor, rather than a supermarket, as they should be means to yield we with a dosing draft for any child in your domicile to equivocate confusion.


If we are visiting your GP, it is value checking what kind of pain use suits you, and fits with other remedy we might be on. You can afterwards ask them for a medication – they can allot three months’ supply of many forms of pain relief, for only a cost of a medication – $6, a estimable saving compared with a supermarket prices.

Cathy Stephenson is a GP and medical debate examiner.

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