Menstrual cramps again!? Before you grab another pain pill, check out the chart below. It reveals which of the most common nonprescription pain killers works best for cramps (and a host of other ailments). To get the skinny, Health talked to Richard Dart, MD, professor of surgery, pharmacy, and medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and Leland Lou, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology and pain management at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Caveat: Youve probably heard about heart risks linked to ibuprofen (Advil, for instance) and naproxen (Aleve). Although the risks are decidedly small, recent studies show both may increase your odds of a heart attack if you take more than the recommended dose for four or more days. Still, theyre safe (and naproxen may be safest) when taken for just a day or two. In other words, follow the instructions on the label—please.