Mercy Pain Management Specialist Dr. David Maine Discusses Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

February 22, 2016
Interventional Pain Management - Mercy - Baltimore

When people are in pain, whether it's from a headache or a sore back, they often reach for over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Which one is better to take? According to pain management specialist Dr. David Maine, Director of The Center for Interventional Pain Medicine at Mercy Medical Center, the two drugs are very different.

Acetaminophen, which many people know through name brands like Tylenol, is often used for headache pain and for use in children.

Ibuprofen, which many people know through name brands like Advil, is an anti-inflammatory medication and is typically used to treat problems like back pain and sports injuries. But both of these painkillers can have side effects.

"I don't think there's a specific medication when you think about Tylenol or non-steroidals such as ibuprofen that one is necessarily safer than the other," Dr. Maine said. "I think ibuprofen and non-steroidals in general are more effective for treating pain conditions but safety lies in how you're taking the medication and dose and they can both cause significant problems if taken excessively in doses that are not recommended."

Dr. Maine added that if you are already taking pain medication, look out for combination drugs, like cold medications, that can also contain painkillers, so you don't take too much.

View Dr. David Maine’s interview regarding over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

News and Events