Best pill for PMS? What gets rid of migraines? Consumer Reports' surprising findings

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - When walking down the drug store aisle, it's easy to feel bombarded and confused by all of the choices. Often we turn to name brand remedies our mothers recommended. But new recommendations from Consumer Reports may change that.

What mother of a teenage girl hasn't recommended Midol to relieve the symptoms of PMS? But according to Consumer Reports, PMS sufferers might be better off taking Aleve. The organization, which prides itself on accepting no advertising money, says Aleve and generic versions containing naproxen "can help with the headaches, cramping, and mood symptoms of premenstrual syndrome."

So why doesn't it recommend Midol? Because, according to the report, two Midol Complete caplets "contain 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen (the amount in two Tylenol Extra Strength pills), 120 milligrams of caffeine (a strong cup of coffee's worth), and 300 milligrams of pyrilamine maleate, an antihistamine."

The report goes on to say that "Acetaminophen will probably help with the headaches and cramping but won't do anything about those nasty inflammation-causing prostaglandins," a key problem for PMS sufferers.

Consumer Reports announced its findings in a tweet this week.

As for migraines, it recommends Excedrin Migraine and other drugs that combine acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. But if caffeine isn't your thing, Consumer Reports recommends ibuprofen and naproxen drugs (Advil, Motrin IB, Aleve, and their generic versions.)

When it comes to chronic pain, their researchers recommend Tylenol Extra Strength if the pain lasts longer than three months, such as back pain and arthritis. However, if you have swelling or tenderness, you may want to consider Advil, Motrin, Aleve or one of the generic versions of ibuprofen and naproxen.

Of course, you always want to talk with your doctor if the pain or headache you experience lasts longer than 2-3 days. Your doctor may discover an underlying problem or want to switch you to a different medicine. Also, be very careful before taking over-the-counter drugs if you already take a prescription for something else or are pregnant. You'll want to consult your physician from the start, in those cases.

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