OTC Medications for Dysmenorrhea 

The common OTC medications for dysmenorrhea belong to the group of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and include the following:1–4

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Ketoprofen
  • Naproxen.

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.

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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.

Aspirin (Brand names: Anacin, Disprin)

The chemical name of aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid and is known for its potent antiinflammatory and pain reducing properties. 

Dosage: Aspirin 0.3–0.6 gm thrice-daily.

Contraindications: Known allergy to the drug, Liver disorders, Bleeding disorders, Pregnancy, Not to be taken without a doctor’s advice in individuals with asthma, diabetes and gout.

Side-Effects: Vomiting sensation (nausea) or vomiting, Stomach discomfort, Dizziness

Ibuprofen (Brand names: Brufen, Ibuflamar, Ibugesic) 

Ibuprofen has actions similar to aspirin. 

Dosage: Ibuprofen 200–600 mg thrice-daily.

Contraindications: Known allergy to the drug, Active peptic ulcers, Pregnancy, Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, Breastfeeding mothers, Not to be taken without a doctor’s advice in individuals with asthma, bleeding disorders and heart disorders.

Side-Effects: Stomach discomfort, Rashes.

Ketoprofen

This belongs to the same class as ibuprofen. One of the OTC drug is maxigesic plus.
 
Dosage: Ketoprofen 50 mg twice- or thrice-daily.

Contraindications: Known allergy to the drug, Active peptic ulcers, Pregnancy, Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, Breastfeeding mothers, Not to be taken without a doctor’s advice in individuals with asthma, bleeding disorders and heart disorders.

Side-Effects: Stomach discomfort, Rashes.

Naproxen (Brand names: Naprosyn, Naprelan, Napryn)

This belongs to the same class as ibuprofen. 

Dosage: Naproxen 250 mg twice-daily.

Contraindications: Known allergy to the drug, Active peptic ulcers, Pregnancy, Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, Breastfeeding mothers, Not to be taken without a doctor’s advice in individuals with asthma, bleeding disorders and heart disorders.

Side-Effects: Stomach discomfort, Rashes.

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last modified: March 21, 2012