OTC Pain Medication in Japan – Headache and Fever-reducing Medicine

OTC Pain Medication in Japan

Headaches, we all get them from time-to-time.  They strike suddenly and often at the most inconvenient times.  Finding a brand of OTC pain medication in Japan you can trust for fast acting pain relief is of the utmost importance.  When in a foreign country like Japan, with very unique and specialized alphabet systems, a headache can make reading drug labels an absolute nightmare.  Following on from our article about OTC hay fever medication, this article looks at some readily available OTC pain relief and fever reducing medications.

Of course, there are plenty of other choices available from the ones listed below.  In the end, you need to choose a brand that works in tune with your body. For now, here’s a list of the most commonly available medications sold in drug stores around Japan.

These OTC medications can be used to alleviate the following symptoms:

Headache, menstrual pain, joint pain, neural pain, lumbar pain, muscular pain, muscle stiffness, sore throat, toothache, earache, pain associated with a bone fracture, sprains, and other external physical pain.  These medications also reduce the symptoms of a fever and the chills.

エブA EVE A (Ibuprofen-combined)

  • Quick acting, Moderate pain relief
  • Balanced overall effect (fever-reducing, pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, relief from menstrual pain)
  • Take with food to prevent an upset stomach
  • Not for children aged 15 and under
  • Dosage size: 2 capsules (3 times a day, 4+ hours intervals)

エブ クイック・EVE Quick (Ibuprofen-combined)

  • Fast acting Headache-relieving, fever-reducing specialty
  • Low possibility of upset stomach
  • Not for children aged 15 and under
  • Dosage size: 2 capsules (max 3 times a day, 4+ hours intervals)

ロキソニンS・Loxonin S (Loxoprofen Sodium Hydrate)

  • Fast acting, strong pain-relief (migraines, tooth aches, etc.)
  • Must first consult store’s pharmacist to be informed of effect, usage directions, and side-effects
  • Low possibility of upset stomach
  • Non-drowsy
  • Not for children 15 and under
  • Dosage size: 1 capsule (max twice a day)

バファリンA・Bufferin A (Aspirin-combined)

  • Fast acting, Mild pain relief
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Non-drowsy
  • Low possibility of upset stomach
  • Not for children 15 and under
  • Dosage size: 2 capsules (max twice a day, 6+ hours intervals)

ノーシン錠・Norshin (Ibuprofen-combined)

  • Fast acting, Mild pain-relief
  • Slight anti-inflammatory effect
  • Low possibility of upset stomach
  • Non-drowsy
  • Not for children 15 and under
  • Dosage size: 2 tablets (max 3 times a day, 4+ hours intervals)

Which one is the best for me?

There are three main types of pain relievers that are available over the counter. These are ibuprofen, paracetamol, and acetaminophen – but which one should you take? Should the type of pain-killer depend on the type of pain? What are some other important factors when considering the best choice for pain relievers?


Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory, more specifically it’s a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, that is abbreviated to (NSAID). As it works as an anti-inflammatory, ibuprofen directly works with the hormones causing inflammation to treat pain.

An important thing to remember is that ibuprofen increases the chance of heart attack and stroke. It is not recommended for those who will or have undergone a coronary bypass.

Ibuprofen may also cause intestinal bleeding which can lead to death. The risk of stomach bleeding is increased with prolonged dosage or high dosage. To prevent the onset of stomach bleeding, it is recommended that ibuprofen is taken with food or milk.

Do not consume alcohol when taking ibuprofen as the risk of intestinal bleeding may increase. Aspirin should not be taken with ibuprofen. Taking ibuprofen in the last trimester of pregnancy may harm the baby. Children younger than 24 months of age should not take ibuprofen without a consulting a doctor.


Aspirin is a salicylate which is naturally occurring in many plants and works like a pesticide. In this way, aspirin provides relief by removing pain, fever and inflammation causing substances from the body.

Those allergic to NSAID’s or similar drugs, have bleeding disorders or a history of intestinal bleeding should avoid taking aspirin. Pregnant women in their last trimester should not take aspirin as it can cause bleeding. Breastfeeding women should avoid aspirin as it can be made can be passed onto the baby through breastmilk.

Similar to ibuprofen, follow the dosage instructions on the package and avoid drinking alcohol as aspirin may increase the risk of intestinal bleeding. It is not recommended to take aspirin in conjunction with ibuprofen as it may reduce effectiveness. Aspirin is not suitable for children with fever or flu symptoms. Aspirin may cause Reyes syndrome in children.


Paracetamol, more commonly known as acetaminophen in North America reduces pain and fever. The process through which this is done is unknown.

Paracetamol overdoses are highly dangerous and can cause irreparable liver damage. Those allergic to acetaminophen should avoid taking it. People with liver issues or alcoholism should not take paracetamol. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before taking paracetamol. The side-affects of acetaminophen on an unborn baby are currently unknown. Always consult your doctor before taking any new medication.

Important notes

It is highly recommended to visit a doctor for prescription medicine if your child (aged 15 & under) has a headache before reaching for OTC pain medication in Japan for children.

* Note: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide professional medical advice. Please read warning labels before consuming any medication. If unsure which medication to take, please consult a professional.
*Note: HealthyTOKYO are not affiliated with any of the pharmaceutical brands listed above.

Related Links:

16 Hay Fever OTC Drugs in Japan

Prepare for the onset of Spring and hay fever early