Painkiller Comparison Chart

Chart showing prescription and non-prescription painkillers and what the medications are used for.

Opiates are powerful narcotics mostly used to relieve pain. Derived from opium which is extracted from the flowers of the poppy plant, opiates are the base of potent drugs such as heroin and most prescribed pain medications.

Even though some of these painkiller medications can be bought without a prescription, you really should think twice before taking them due to the possibility of drug addiction and side effects of the drugs that may effect you.

Note: Always consult with your doctor and/or pharmacist before taking any medications.

List of Painkillers and what they are used for:

Over the Counter Painkillers - Non-Prescription Drugs

Actron Orudis

Ketoprofen, Actron, Orudis, Oruvail

Effective in treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body, Analgesic, Arthritis, and Menstrual pain

Side effects are relatively uncommon if used as recommended but can include - bullous rash, constipation, diarrhea, dyspepsia, elevated hepatic enzymes, maculopapular rash, nausea/vomiting, nephrotic syndrome, exfoliative dermatitis, flatulence, gastritis, GI bleeding, GI perforation, headache, heart failure, hematuria, peripheral edema, photosensitivity, platelet dysfunction, proteinuria, purpura, renal papillary necrosis, retinal hemorrhage, urticaria

Advil Motrin Nuprin, Medipren, PediaCare


Used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation, colds, toothache, muscle aches, backache, menstrual pain, fever

Common adverse effects include: nausea, dyspepsia, gastrointestinal ulceration/bleeding, raised liver enzymes, diarrhea, epistaxis, headache, dizziness, unexplained rash, salt and fluid retention, and hypertension.

Aleve Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn


Mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation, arthritis, rheumatism, musculo-skeletal joint and muscle pain

Naproxen may reduce the blood pressure lowering effects of blood pressure medications, aspirin allergy, asthma, upset stomach, not for last pregnancy trimester. Individuals taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants should avoid naproxen because naproxen also thins the blood, and excessive blood thinning may lead to bleeding. Other side effects may include rash, ringing in the ears, drowsiness, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, dizziness, heartburn, fluid retention and shortness of breath.

Anacin Bayer Bufferin Ecotrin

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) NSAID

Often used as an analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, as an antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication, minor aches, pains, cold, headache, fever, muscular ache

The main undesirable side effects of aspirin are gastrointestinal ulcers and stomach bleeding, tinnitus, aspirin allergy, asthma, upset stomach, and Reye's Syndrome. Not for children under 16 years of age.

Anacin Excedrin Tylenol


Excedrin is an over-the-counter headache pain reliever, typically in the form of tablets or caplets. It contains acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. Used for treatment of mild to moderate pain and fever. Acetaminophen does not relieve redness, stiffness or swelling of joints or tissue inflammation. Use aspirin or other drugs for inflammation. Headache fever, if allergic to aspirin, arthritis, rheumatism, musculo-skeletal

Large doses of the drug can damage the liver, leading to liver failure or even death. The potential for acetaminophen to harm the liver is increased when it is combined with alcohol or drugs that also harm the liver.


Combination of aspirin and acetaminophen NSAID

Vanquish is an analgesic and antipyretic combination. It works by blocking substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation, headache, and muscle aches.

Serious stomach ulcers or bleeding can occur with the use of Vanquish. Taking it in high doses or for a long time, smoking, or drinking alcohol increases the risk of these side effects. Not suitable for children and teens

Prescription Only Pain Pills

Celebrex Celebra


All NSAIDs, including CELEBREX, help relieve arthritis pain, but only you and your doctor can decide which one is right for you. Other uses include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, short term pain, painful menstruation. And to reduce numbers of colon and rectum polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis.

Stomach bleeding, heart attack, stroke



Management of moderate to moderately severe pain.

Nausea, constipation, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, and vomiting. Tramadol may also increase central nervous system and respiratory depression when combined with alcohol, anesthetics, narcotics, tranquilizers or sedative hypnotics.


Meperidine Hydrochloride

Opiates are powerful narcotics most often used to relieve pain. Opiates are a very effective painkiller but are also very addictive.

Opiates are made from opium, a white liquid in the poppy plant. They are also referred to as narcotic drugs.

Opiates can create a fast, intense feeling of pleasure or happiness with a sense of feeling good and have a calm drowsy effect. They affect the human brain by activating "pleasure" centers in the brain that create euphoria while also reducing "pain" centers in the brain.

General side effects of narcotic and opiate analgesics include: slowed reflexes, raspy speech, sedation, sluggish movements, slowed breathing, cold skin, nausea, constipation, sedation, and weakened immune system.

Taking opiates for pain management or for other reasons may lead to physical and neurological changes that require your body and brain to have the drugs. Opiate addiction is easy to conceal and it may be difficult or nearly impossible to determine whether a loved one or family member is struggling with an opiate dependency.


hydromorphone hydrochloride

Lorcet Lortab

hydrocodone and acetaminophen

Lorcet Plus

hydrocodone and acetaminophen

Oxycontin 40

oxycodone HCl


oxycodone HCl with acetaminophen


oxycodone HCl, oxycodone terephthalate, and aspirin

RMS MS Contin

morphine sulfate


hydrocodone and acetaminophen

Vicodin ES

hydrocodone and acetaminophen

Vicodin HP

hydrocodone and acetaminophen

List of Generic Equivalents for Brand Name Drugs -

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