What Medication to Take for Short Term Pain?

Published March 19, 2017

Medicines to relieve pain are called ‘analgesics’. There are many different types of analgesics for different types of pain, and severity of pain. Also, these medicines can have different potential side effects, so it is important that you discuss any pain relief medication choices with your pharmacist or doctor.

Pain medicine available over-the-counter

There are a range of pain relief medications for short-term pain which can be bought without a prescription. If your pain persists, or you are concerned, you should see your doctor.


Paracetamol is suitable for mild pain that is not resolved by drug-free methods like rest or an ice/heat pack. Because paracetamol may be available under many brand names and in combination with other active ingredients, you should check the paracetamol content of your medications to make sure you don’t take too much.

Special care needs to be taken when giving paracetamol to children. Paracetamol for children is only available in pharmacies, and can only be given to children over one month of age.

Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs

If paracetamol alone does not relieve your pain, or if the pain is due to inflammation you may choose to use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (or NSAID) instead of, or in addition to paracetamol. Ibuprofen is generally the first recommended option as it has been used more widely than other NSAIDs like aspirin, diclofenac and naproxen. You should not use more than one NSAID at a time

Special care needs to be taken when giving ibuprofen to children. Ibuprofen for children is only available in pharmacies and can only be given to children aged three months or over, and weighing more than 5 kg.

Mersynofen is an example of a combination medicine, containing paracetamol and ibuprofen in a single tablet for effective relief of acute pain and/or inflammation (swelling).

Other pain relievers

If your pain is not relieved by paracetamol and/or ibuprofen, there are different pain relievers available, with the advice of your pharmacist.

For moderate-to-severe pain or persistent pain, you should see your doctor to discuss suitable treatment options.

Learn whether Mersynofen may be appropriate for you.