Women who have pain during the menstrual periods are said to suffer from dysmenorrhea. Such women complain of cramp like, intermittent or aching pain in the lower abdomen during their periods. They may also suffer from back pain at the same time. Mild-to-moderate cases of dysmenorrhea that are not associated with any underlying disorders can be effectively treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Dysmenorrhea associated with some pathology requires prompt medical attention and needs to be evaluated thoroughly.1,2
The common OTC medications for dysmenorrhea belong to the group of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and include the following:1–4
These NSAIDs reduce the pain by decreasing the formation of a hormone like substance known as prostaglandin, which has a vital role in the occurrence of pain and inflammation. These OTC drugs are available as a single medication or as a combination with other drugs in order to increase their efficacy. These drugs may also interfere with the functioning of other drugs and a doctor’s advice should be taken in cases where one is already taking some prescription medications.
For effective relief, NSAIDs need to be taken 1 or 2 days before the onset of menstruation. The medications need not be continued after the end of the periods.
The chemical name of aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid and is known for its potent antiinflammatory and pain reducing properties. The common OTC brand names include:
Aspirin 0.3–0.6 gm thrice-daily.
Ibuprofen has actions similar to aspirin. The common OTC brand names of ibuprofen are:
Ibuprofen 200–600 mg thrice-daily.
This belongs to the same class as ibuprofen. One of the OTC drug is maxigesic plus.
Ketoprofen 50 mg twice- or thrice-daily.
This belongs to the same class as ibuprofen. Some of the OTC naproxen drugs are:
Naproxen 250 mg twice-daily.
Prompt medical attention should be sought in the following cases:
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: May 10, 2015
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