An expert, independent second opinion on more than 1,800 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements

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Non-Narcotic Painkillers

Disease and Drug Family Information
  • Migraine Headaches [hide all summaries]
    For reasons of both safety and cost, the newer migraine drugs known as triptans should be used only after determining that the NSAIDs and acetaminophen fail to work. The triptans can dangerously, even fatally, narrow arteries in the heart.
  • Muscle Relaxants [hide all summaries]
    Some of the widely prescribed muscle relaxants covered on this web site have been on the market for more than 40 years. Yet five of these drugs were among the top 200 most frequently prescribed medications in the United States in 2002, with more than 30 million prescriptions dispensed. Since their original marketing, there has been very little reliable evidence that these drugs actually relax muscles.
  • Opioids [hide all summaries]
    Most of the time when someone is able to swallow, they should first try a non-opioid drug such as aspirin taken by mouth. If aspirin alone is not effective, it can be combined with an opioid, such as codeine. These two drugs work in different ways, and when they are used together, they generally relieve pain that would otherwise require a higher dose of an opioid, while causing fewer adverse effects.
Drug and Dietary Supplement Profiles - Each profile is a comprehensive review of the safety and effectiveness of this drug. If drug is not a Do Not Use product, information on adverse effects, drug interactions and how to use the medication are included.
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Additional Information from Public Citizen
Health Letter Articles
  • FDA Caves In to Industry, Fails to Adequately Address Tylenol Overdoses [hide all summaries]
    (November 2002)
    Most of us remember the 1982 debacle in which Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide were held responsible for seven deaths. These tragic events led to a reimagining of tamper-resistant drug packages. Yet a far greater Tylenol-related tragedy has been unfolding before and since 1982—preventable deaths due to overdoses from acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol and many other prescription and over-the-counter drugs) and the resultant liver damage. In fact, acetaminophen is the leading cause of toxic drug ingestions in the U.S.
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