For headaches, backaches, muscle pain, and joint pain—including the aches and pain that come with colds and the flu—ibuprofen is a must, says Minesh Khatri, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and a general internist at Columbia University Medical Center. Look for Motrin, Advil, or Aleve—which is generally longer-acting than the first two. To note: Ibuprofen is categorized as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). What you need to know? Anyone with heart or kidney disease or high blood pressure should avoid (or check with your doc before using)—as should anyone with ulcers or stomach problems, as NSAIDS are known to cause irritation. And avoid alcohol when taking, which can make stomach irritation worse.
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