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What Are Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Medications?

Updated March 23, 2017

NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, work by reducing the COX enzymes and prostaglandins that promote inflammation, fever and pain in the body. Mild to moderate inflammation can be lessened with the help of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.

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Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are available without a prescription and can be found in drugstores, convenience stores and discount stores.


Ibuprofen, such as Advil and Motrin, is an anti-inflammatory. Naproxen (for example, Aleve) and aspirin (for example, Bayer) have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Standard uses

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are used to reduce inflammation in the body caused by conditions such as gout and arthritis. They can also be used to treat pain due to illness, such as the flu.

Alternative uses

Many anti-inflammatory medications have the ability to reduce fever as well as inflammation. Occasionally, aspirin is recommended by physicians for certain preventive treatments, such as inhibiting blood clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack.


According to MedicineNet, products containing aspirin should never be given to children or teenagers due to its link with Reye's Syndrome, which affects all organs in the body due to the accumulation of large amounts of fat and increases pressure in the brain. Naproxen can interact with certain medications, such as lithium and blood thinners. The consumption of NSAIDs can lead to complications in the stomach and intestine, such as bleeding and ulcers.

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About the Author

Victoria Michaels graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor's degree in professional writing accompanied by a certificate in interactive Web writing. Michaels began her writing career behind the scenes writing as a grant consultant as well as creating technical user manuals for small companies. She writes for various online magazines and websites.

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