My dad’s knee was hurting a few weeks ago. It hurt him so bad that he had to cancel the one thing that he enjoys most… golfing with my mom on their only day off of the week. I asked if he took some Tylenol, but said it didn’t work. To which I responded with trying Advil. He said that he didn’t like Advil, and used Motrin instead, which helped alleviate some of his pain. I sighed, and mentioned to him that those were the exact same medications. My dad stared at me confused. So I sat down and explained to him the similarities or differences between the OTC analgesic (aka, pain-relieving) medications.
When I first started working in the emergency department, I felt sort of disconnected from the retail world of pharmacy. Patients would come in with medications that were completely foreign to me because they were the latest and greatest drugs. Working in a hospital setting, we don’t have the luxury of stocking the newest drugs on the market mainly because of cost. So I felt like I needed more experience and exposure to those new drugs, so I picked up a second job as a per diem pharmacist at a local retail pharmacy chain.
I actually enjoyed working there from time-to-time because I felt like I had more contact with the patients. It was a great opportunity to improve my patient consultation skills. One question that I often received aside from cold and cough preparations, was over-the-counter (OTC) pain-relieving medications. And more often than not, a lot of the patients I spoke with didn’t know there was not a difference between the majority of those types of medications. But why would they know? It’s confusing when you have a whole aisle of OTC analgesic medications to choose from. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true. Motrin = Advil = Ibuprofen. Aleve = Naproxen. Tylenol = Acetaminophen. Aspirin = St. John’s = Bayers. And I’m sure there are many other different names out there that I’m forgetting or have never come across.
You see, it’s all the different drug manufacturing companies trying to vie for the market shares over the next drug manufacturing company. So you have the brands versus the generics, and the brands versus the brands. It’s too confusing for the consumers. And it may also lead to unnecessary overmedicating. All drugs carry risks for side effects, even the OTC medications.
So before you buy an OTC drug product, make sure to double check the active ingredients so you aren’t buying duplicate therapies. Or speak to your local pharmacist who can help clarify any questions and/or confusion. Hey, that’s what we’re here for… we’re the legal drug dealers (and experts)! :)
Did you know there was not a difference between many of these OTC analgesic medications?
1 gallon whole milk (not 2%, 1%, or nonfat milk… gotta use the real thing)
6 tablespoons lemon juice
Line a colander with a double layer of cheese cloth. Place colander in a bowl large enough to fit.
Boil milk in a thick bottom pan. Stir it from time to time to keep it from sticking at the bottom. Once the milk is boiling, add the lemon juice. Simmer for another two to three minutes until the milk has completely curdled. Continue stirring.
Remove from heat, and pour the contents of the pan into the cheese cloth-lined colander.
Once the whey has completely drained out, wrap the cheesecloth over the paneer. Place some heavy weights over this to make a firm block of paneer. First, place a plate over it so that it gets uniformly pressed down. Follow that with a heavy pan, and then add what ever weights you can think of to weigh it down from your kitchen pantry. Or, use a few foil-lined bricks placed on top of the plate.
Leave the weights on for about two to three hours. Remove the weights, and plate. You are now left with a beautiful block of fresh paneer. [Yum.] Refrigerate the block of paneer for one to two hours, before cubing.