Pain treatment with over-the-counter drugs

Pain can be relieved with over-the-counter medication. We recommend paracetamol.

About the treatment

You can relieve pain with pain-relieving medicine bought over the counter. We recommend that you take pain-relieving paracetamol. If the pain persists, we recommend that you combine paracetamol with ibuprofen.
It is often more effective to take pain-relieving medicine at fixed intervals rather than waiting and taking medicine when you feel pain.

The treatment

Paracetamol

Tablets with paracetamol contain 500 mg each. Adults should take two tablets up to four times a day. Wait at least four hours between doses. Do not take more than eight tablets a day.

You can buy paracetamol without a prescription. It is sold under the names Panodil, Pamol and Pinex. Ask at the pharmacy if you are in doubt.

Give children a lower dose

We recommend that children take paracetamol if they are in pain. Children need a lower dose of paracetamol than adults. How much, depends on their weight:

  • Below 17 kg: 50 mg/kg body weight/day in three to four doses. Ask at the pharmacy for advice.
  • 17 kg: 250 mg, three times a day. 250 mg corresponds to half a tablet.
  • 20 kg: 250 mg, four times a day.
  • 40 kg: 500 mg, four times a day.
  • 50 kg: 1 gram, four times a day. 1 gram corresponds to two tablets.

Wait at least six hours between doses. Never exceed the maximum recommended dosage.

You can buy paracetamol in smaller doses, as suppositories and as a syrup at the pharmacy. Follow the dosages in the table that comes with the medicine. We recommend that you also ask the pharmacist for advice.

Ibuprofen

Tablets with ibuprofen contain 200 mg each. Adults should take one to two tablets up to three times a day. Wait at least four hours between doses. Contact your general practitioner if you need to take more than six tablets a day. We recommend that children do not take ibuprofen.

You can buy iboprofen without a prescription. It is sold under the names Ipren, Ibumetin and Burana. Ask at the pharmacy if you are in doubt.

Do not take ibuprofen if you have had a stomach ulcer, heartburn or stomach pain. Contact your general practitioner for a prescription for other pain-relieving medicine.

If you are pregnant, talk to your general practitioner before taking ibuprofen.

Take pain-relieving medicine for as long as you are in pain

You should take pain-relieving medicine for as long as you are in pain. Contact your general practitioner if you need help to manage the pain.

Pay attention to side effects

Paracetamol can have side effects

All medicine can have side effects. However, the risk of serious side effects from paracetamol is very low as long as you do not exceed the dosage. If you suspect that you have taken too much ibuprofen, contact your general practitioner or dial 1813 immediately to reach the medical helpline outside your general practitioner’s opening hours.

Ibuprofen may cause nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, heartburn and stomach ache or flatulence. The medicine can cause or worsen stomach ulcers and cause bleeding in the stomach. Allergic reactions to the medicine include nettle rash, runny nose and asthma. The medicine can also cause fatigue, headache, rash and swelling.

You may breastfeed

You may breastfeed while taking pain-relieving medicine.

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