Sorting out Pain Relievers

A drug that's good for one symptom may not be appropriate for another. The chart below will help you sort it all out.

Generic Name Aspirin Acetaminophen Ibuprofen Naproxen Ketoprofen Common Brand Names Bayer, Norwich, St. Joseph, Bufferin Tylenol Advil, Motrin, Nuprin Aleve Orudis General Pain Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Fever Yes Yes Not as effective as aspirin No Not frequently recommended Swollen Joints, Muscle Inflammation Yes No Yes Yes Yes Heachache Yes Yes Sometimes Yes No Menstrual Cramps Yes Sometimes Yes Yes Yes Possible Side Effects with Normal Use Bleeding, upset stomach, complications with some children Generally none, although overuse can lead to liver damage Upset stomach, can exacerbate kidney problems; avoid sun exposure Upset stomach, bleeding, kidney problems; avoid sun exposure Upset stomach, bleeding; avoid sun exposure Ok for Children? No Yes Yes Yes Only at a doctor's suggestion