Choosing OTC Safely

Educating Consumers on Choosing and
Using OTC Pain Relievers Responsibly

The U.S. Pain Foundation knows the value of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines in helping Americans manage pain. However like any other medicine, there are risks when not selected and used appropriately. With a significant number of people living with pain every day, it’s absolutely essential that everyone knows how to choose the pain reliever that is most appropriate for them.

That’s why the U.S. Pain Foundation partnered with McNeil Consumer Healthcare to educate not just the pain community, but consumers’ at large, about the safe and responsible use of OTC pain relievers. In our recent consumer survey, we found that many consumers do not consider critical safety factors such as current medicines they are taking, pre-existing medical conditions, and their age when choosing OTC pain relievers. Consumers might think that all OTC pain relievers are interchangeable and are appropriate for everyone – but that is not true.

Consumer Survey Facts Sheet
  • Nearly half do not consider the prescription medicines they are currently taking;
  • More than half do not consider their pre-existing health conditions;
  • 2 in 3 do not consider other OTC medicines they are taking;
  • 3 out of 4 of those 60 and over do not consider their age; and 1 in 5 do not consider any of these important safety factors.

Consumer Survey Press Release

The good news is that better informed patients display better decision making when choosing which OTC pain reliever to take. When the U.S. Pain Foundation conducted the same survey among its members, we were pleased to see that our members carefully weigh their pain relief options.

U.S. Pain Membership Key Survey Findings                                   

U.S. Pain Membership Survey Results
  • About 7 out of 10 very often consider the impact of taking an OTC pain reliever with other prescription medicines (46% consumer survey)
  • 3 in 5 are very likely to consider personal health aspects important (45% consumer survey)
  • Over half are very likely to be very concerned about causing interactions between prescription medicines and their OTC pain reliever (38% consumer survey)

 The U.S. Pain Foundation believes that through continued educational efforts we can help more Americans make better informed decisions when selecting which pain reliever might be best for them.

What can you do to make sure you are selecting the appropriate OTC pain medicine for you?


For more information on how to safely choose, use, and store OTC pain relievers visit: