Are you looking for what is the best over the counter medicine for stomach pain or for a prescription medicine that would work?
Abdominal pain can come on when you least expect it - suddenly, after a meal, during your sleep, as period cramps or you could even be suffering with pain for many many months or years.
Nobody should suffer with pain and struggle to find relief for it.
The rule of thumb in medicine is that if you have pain in your abdomen that lasts for more than one hour, you should seek medical advice for such pain. If you feel dizzy or unwell at anytime with pain in your abdomen, you should speak with your healthcare provider even sooner.
Taking a hot bath, or using a warm compress or hot water bottle are practical things you could do first if you are having stomach pain.
If the pain does not get better within the hour or if it is worsening, you could take some acetaminophen (Paracetamol or Tylenol) and get some rest. If it is worsening, it is time to call the doctor.
As you would expect, there is no single medicine that can be taken to cure all types of abdominal pain. We would discuss the various types of abdominal or stomach pain medications available - whether it is just pain alone, stomach pain and bloating, stomach pain and diarrhea or constipation, period pain, pain from endometriosis or even unknown causes of stomach pain.
The following are the types of medicines that are used to treat different causes of pain in the tummy. We would discuss:
Acetaminophen is a very important painkiller used in the treatment of mild to moderate abdominal pain from all causes.
It is classified as a simple analgesia and fever-relieving medication with no significant anti inflammatory effect.
It is sold in many countries by different names, including Tylenol, Paracetamol and Panadol.
The exact way this medication works is unknown.
It is used as abdominal pain medication for:
This is perhaps one of the safest painkillers out there. So it can be used by almost anyone e=unless you have specific allergy to acetaminophen or have significant liver damage or have severe alcohol liver disease.
Common side effects would include:
Anti-inflammatory medications are the most commonly used pain killers for abdominal pain after acetaminophen (Paracetamol, Tylenol, Panadol etc). They are also referred to as Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
Examples of anti-inflammatory medicines are:
They work by reducing pain and swelling in the body.
The typical dose of anti-inflammatory painkillers to use for your abdominal pain would be 200 to 400 mg of ibuprofen up to three times daily, or 50 mg of diclofenac tablet up to three times daily, or 10 mg of ketorolac up to three times daily, or 20 mg tablet of Piroxicam once daily, or Ketoprofen 50 mg up to four times daily, or 500 mg of Naproxen twice daily or 500 mg of mefenamic acid up to three times daily.
Aspirin is best avoided for any type of abdominal pain because of the high risk of internal bleeding (from your stomach or duodenum or even bleeding into your brain) at the dose needed for pain control - 300 mg of aspirin three times daily).
Some Abdominal Conditions Where Anti Inflammatory Medicines Are Used
NSAIDs are used commonly for the following types of abdominal pain:
Cautions And Common Side Effects of Anti Inflammatory Medicines
Anti inflammatory medications are a great resource for pain control in several parts of the body as well as abdominal pain medications. They also help in controlling fever.
Like all medicines, they should be used with caution in certain situations and individuals. And when they are used, it is important to be familiar with common side effects that could result and recognise these so that you can stop them and seek help if necessary.
Please avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications if you:
Use with caution if you:
Opioid medications are a group of medicines derived from or related to morphine.
They are another family of powerful analgesics or painkillers used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.
They could be a very effective abdominal pain medication, especially for acute pain. If you were to have acute appendicitis or ectopic pregnancy or rupture ovarian cyst, and go into hospital, you are almost certain to get an opioid injection.
They are also helpful to an extend for chronic abdominal pain, but best avoided for long term use, because of their propensity for the body to get used to them and you then lose the analgesic effect. They also cause dependency or addiction.
Examples of opioid painkillers are:
Codeine is often combined with acetaminophen in co codamol or Tylenol 3 / 4.
Abdominal Conditions Where Opioids Are Used.
Opioids are used in the relief of pain in the abdominal from all causes. The more common use of opioid painkillers in abdominal pain are for pain due to:
Cautions And Common Side Effects of Opioids
Opioids are generally save medications, but for their side effects of causing sedation and constipation. They should be used with caution if you have gallbladder surgery because they could cause spasm of the gallbladder and bile system.
They should also be used with caution just before delivery in a pregnant women because they have could cause drowsiness and breathing problem within the first few hours of a baby being born, if sufficient quantity gets to the baby through the placenta.
Antispasmodics are medications that help with abdominal pain relief by relaxing the gut muscles.
Examples of antispasmodics are:
This group of medicines are widely used either on their own or in combination with other medicines for treating many causes of abdominal pain including:
Mebeverine is commonly used in the UK for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. It is not available in some countries like Canada, where the main stay for treating spasms associated with irritable bowel syndrome is by using Dicyclomine Hydrochloride or Pinaverium bromide.
Heartburn from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), peptic ulcers (stomach or duodenal ulcers) are very common causes of abdominal pain and discomfort.
Antacids are easily amongst the top over the counter abdominal pain medications purchased worldwide. They work by neutralizing acid in the stomach. They often provide quick relief from the pain of heartburn and indigestion.
They mainly contain:
Examples of antacids include:
The following are typical conditions for which antacids are taken:
Antacids only provides symptomatic relief. They should be used on a very short term basis. If your symptoms persists for more than 3 days, seek medical advice for a more definitive approach to what is causing your abdominal pain or discomfort.
Side effects of antacids include:
H2-blockers and antacids were the mainstay for the treatment of peptic ulcers and GERD before the arrival of medications we call PPIs - proton pump inhibitors.
H2-blockers are still used today, but to a lesser degree.
They are a group of medications that help reduce the production of acid by our stomach. They do so by antagonizing the type 2 histamine receptors in the stomach.
They are relative safe to take with very few side effects. They can be obtained over the counter.
Examples of H2-Receptor antagonists or H2-blockers are:
H2-blockers are used in the treatment of the following conditions:
Common Side Effects of H2-Blockers include:
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI or PPIs) displaced antacids and H2-blockers like Zantac and Tagamet since they were introduced to the market in the late 1980s to early 1990s.
They are one of the most prescribed groups of medicines worldwide.
They reduce acid production in the stomach by deactivating the enzyme that helps in acid production.
They are very effective for the treatment of peptic ulcers and a number of other conditions.
Examples of PPIs include:
The following are abdominal pain causes for which PPIs are prescribed:
Side Effects of PPIs
PPI are generally safe when taken for short periods of time. The manufacturers advise that they should not be taken for more than 12 weeks. In many situations, you may need to use them for several more months or perhaps years. In such situations, be aware that long term use may come with a big price - such as :
If you take PPIs for heartburn, speak with your doctor to draw up a plan to help you identify the cause of your symptoms and deal with the cause (like losing weight, or cutting back on coffee and fruit juice or acidic drinks, or having smaller regular meals). You may then be able to get off your proton pump inhibitor and avoid these potentially serious side effects.
Trapped wind or bowel gas is a condition that causes abdominal pain for many people.
It is usually due to excessive air swallowing or excessive production of intestinal gas. This leads to bloating and belching and flatulence.
There are specific intestinal gas or wind medications. They act by displacing air from the gut contents and this bubbles out and are expediently released.
Examples of wind medications include:
As a group, they are used in the treatment of:
Side effects of wind medications depend on the type. Commonly, they cause:
Constipation is a big and common cause of abdominal pain across all age groups, but commonly in children and in the elderly.
Medications used to treat abdominal pain from constipation includes:
In chronic constipation, the diphenylmethane laxatives (bisacodyl and sodium picosulfate) taken at 10 mg tablets once daily was recently shown to be superior at 4 weeks to treat constipation, followed by Prucalopride 2 to 4 mg daily at 12 weeks than all other constipation meds.
These different medications span a large subgroup of medications generally referred to as laxatives. Each of these would have different side effects.
Generally, side effects of anti-constipation medications would include:
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