Over-the-Counter Pain Medication Market

Over-the-Counter Pain Medication Market: Growing Number of Acute Pain Cases to Fuel Demand: Global Industry Analysis 2013-2017 and Opportunity Assessment 2018-2028

Advancements in Pain Management and the Rising Prevalence of Acute Pain

The rising prevalence of lower back pain, neck pain, headache, acute migraine, and other acute pain conditions is boosting the market for over-the-counter pain medication. According to a survey conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, over 80% of the population experiences episodes of acute pain conditions in their lifetime due to continuous sitting, sports and activities, sudden falls, other health conditions, lifestyle, hygiene, etc.

The expansion of companies offering novel and cost-effective over-the-counter pain medications in Asian countries is expected to fuel the growth of the over-the-counter pain medication market. Companies having patent rights for particular over-the-counter pain medication are targeting potential countries in Asia and Africa.

For this purpose, these companies are seeking the approval of respective government authorities in view of commercializing their products. Increased efforts by manufacturers to offer cost-effective over-the-counter pain medication and rapid advancements in pain management are expected to boost the over-the-counter pain medication market.

Severity of Abusive Over-the-Counter Pain Relief Drugs

The popularity of over-the-counter pain medication increases the potential of its abuse. It has been observed that some over-the-counter pain medication are being overused, consumed in larger quantities than what is prescribed, and sometimes, patients became addicted to them. Due to these factors, patients suffer from adverse effects. Most over-the-counter pain medications are safe for healthy people only if used as directed.

The most commonly used over-the-counter pain medication for relief are non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs, which can cause potentially fatal adverse effects such as stomach bleeding and ulcers. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, in the U.S., more than 30 Mn people are using NSAIDs every day for pain relief from headaches, backache, rheumatoid arthritis, and other acute conditions.

It has been observed that there is a lack of proper guideless and awareness among a large percentage of the population regarding the dosage of over-the-counter pain medication and the manner in which they should be taken. A large number of patients are consuming acetaminophen for almost all types of chronic and acute pain, and thus suffering from its adverse effects and predisposing themselves to serious complications associated with ill self-diagnosis and self-medication.

Growth in Aging Population Suffering from Pain Disorders

The growing aging population is at a high risk of chronic pain disorders. During the aging process, several physical changes take place, which can impact the processing of pain among the population of this age group. Pain occurs due to several reasons such as reduced mobility, falls, and evasion of activity, sleep impairment, anxiety, and depression. In the United States, the Institute of Medicine stated that the prevalence of pain has been increasing among all age groups, but has been consistently the highest among the aging American population.

The aging American population has the highest long-term consumption rate of over-the-counter pain medication for pain relief. In addition, the increase in the prevalence of age-related pain disorders is boosting the usage of over-the-counter pain medication among the elderly population.

This age group is the major target group for manufacturers, and is contributing to the growth of the over-the-counter pain medications market. This growing patient pool will boost the growth of the over-the-counter pain medication market during the forecast period.

Adverse Effects Related to OTC Pain Medications

According to the American Gastroenterological Association, more than half of the stomach bleeding cases and ulcers are associated with NSAIDs. The long-term usage of NSAIDs is also likely to lead to heart and stroke risks, kidney failure and/or high blood pressure. An overdose of acetaminophen can lead to liver failure and possibly death.

A heavy dosage of acetaminophen can also lead to kidney disease, GI bleeding, stroke or heart attack, and/or high blood pressure. Taking drugs for an extended time period, higher consumption of drugs than the recommended dosage, taking drugs in combination with other pain medications, and/or combining NSAIDs with alcohol increases the risk of stomach and intestinal bleeding, other adverse effects, and serious complications.

Majority of patients taking over-the-counter pain medication are more concerned about reducing pain and are unaware of the adverse effects. Popular pain-relieving medicines, such as Paracetamol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, etc., are easily available, and do not require a prescription from physicians. However, they are very effective for reducing pain only if taken as directed.

Competitive Landscape in the Global Over-the-Counter Pain Medication Market

The competition section of the over-the-counter pain medication market provides detailed information about key players competing in the over-the-counter pain medication market based on their market shares, different market strategies, product offerings, marketing approach, and company dashboard.

Some of the key players featured in this over-the-counter pain medication market report are Pfizer, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., Bayer AG, Sanofi S.A., GlaxoSmithKline plc., Bristol-Myers Squibb and Company, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Mylan N.V., Merck & Co., Cardinal Health Inc., and others.    


Over-the-counter pain medication are a wide range of drugs which can be purchased without physician prescriptions and are used for acute pain-related conditions. The drug class used as over-the-counter pain medication non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), local anaesthetics, and acetaminophen.

About the Report

The company conducted a research study on the over-the-counter pain medication market for the forecast period 2018 to 2028. This report provides a thorough assessment of opportunities in the over-the-counter pain medication market and provides an understanding of pain-related conditions, occurrence rate of pain, pain incidence rate, and awareness level of over-the-counter pain medication and market competition in the over-the-counter pain medication market.

The report provides thorough information regarding macroeconomic factors impelling the growth of the over-the-counter pain medication market.

Additional Questions Answered

Additional questions addressed in this over-the-counter pain medication market report are-

  • What is the revenue potential of the over-the-counter pain medication market across North America and Europe?
  • Who are the key players and what are their product portfolios in the over-the-counter pain medication market?
  • What are the major challenges impacting the growth of the over-the-counter pain medication market?
  • How is the involvement from key regulatory bodies shaping the growth of the over-the-counter pain medication market?

Research Methodology

The over-the-counter pain medication market has been estimated based on a supply-demand approach. The over-the-counter pain medication market was first studied based on the prevalence of pain-related conditions, consumption and adoption rate of over-the-counter pain medications, and availability of drug in the different distribution channels in different region/countries.

Further, qualitative factors impacting the over-the-counter pain medication market, such as awareness regarding over-the-counter pain medication and availability of drugs, average prices of drugs, key regulations and others, were studied. The calculated data was further validated through primary research methods, such as telephonic interviews, surveys, in-person interactions and viewpoints of experienced analysts & secondary research resources, such as databases, trade journals and verified paid sources.

The research study on the over-the-counter pain medication market also discussed top trends and macro as well as microeconomic factors influencing the over-the-counter pain medication market.

Key Segment

Based on drug class

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • local anaesthetics
  • acetaminophen

Based on route of administration

  • oral
  • tropical
  • others

Based on dosage from

  • tablets
  • capsules
  • creams
  • gels
  • others

Based on distribution channels

  • hospital pharmacies
  • drug stores
  • retail stores
  • e-commerce
  • others

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Over-the-Counter Pain Medication Market