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Do Vegan Pain Relievers Exist?

Updated: May 11, 2023



The simple answer is yes! Finding vegan and animal-free products is easy if you go through the VeganMed shop. We have done the research to verify which products do not contain any animal ingredients.


The prevalence of animal-derived ingredients in pain relief medication makes it difficult for vegans to find effective pain management. From gelatin to shellac, ingredient labels are confusing and convoluted (read HERE for more information about animal-derived ingredients).


Complicating matters, due to current regulations, animal testing is often used in the development of medications, supplements and cosmetics. Veganism adheres to avoiding all forms of animal exploitation, so many medications on the market are not vegan. Our goal at VeganMed is to find and support animal-free options, medications that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients, since "vegan" labeling may not always be appropriate.



There are different types of treatments depending on the type of pain. Please speak to your healthcare professional regarding all medical decisions.


Oral Pain Relief

Taking a tablet, capsule, or liquid by mouth is the most common form of pain relief. Many consumers choose over-the-counter options such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen or naproxen. Both acetaminophen and NSAIDs reduce fever and address pain caused by muscle aches and stiffness, but NSAIDs specifically target inflammation (Felson). "NSAIDs relieve pain by reducing the production of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that cause pain (Felson)."


Advil Dual Action with Acetaminophen

The VeganMed team has verified that Advil Dual Action with Acetaminophen is animal-free. According to Advil, these tablets "work fast for headache relief, menstrual cramps, minor arthritis pain relief, muscle aches, back pain, and the aches and pains associated with the common cold."


Children's Advil Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer

For children, Children's Advil Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer is a liquid ibuprofen formula, available in white grape flavor to help make it easy for your child to take. According to the manufacturer, this medication provides "unsurpassed fever relief among OTC pain relievers/fever reducers for up to 8 hours." Pediatric dosing is weight-based, so please confirm medication choice and dosing with your pediatrician.


Tylenol Children's Dissolve Powder Packets

The exact mechanism of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a current area of study, but scientists hypothesize that acetaminophen likely interacts with physiological pathways within the central nervous system (Toussaint et al. 2010, Mallet et al 2010). If you are looking for an acetaminophen product, VeganMed has verified Tylenol Children's Dissolve Powder Packets and Tylenol Extra Strength Dissolve Packs with Acetaminophen for Pain to be animal-free.


For further reading on animal-free oral pain relief, check out "Is Tylenol Vegan?" and "Is Ibuprofen Vegan?"


Topical Pain Relief

Topical pain relief, also called topical analgesics, includes lotions, gels, creams, patches, and sprays that are applied directly to the skin. Topical pain relievers work best for acute musculoskeletal pain, like sore muscles, arthritis, or sprains and strains (Cleveland Clinic 2019). Active ingredients used in topical analgesics vary greatly depending on the intended purpose of the product.


One of VeganMed's most popular topical analgesic is Mentholatum Original Ointment. Mentholatum's active ingredients are natural camphor and menthol, which is also known as mint camphor. Mint camphor creates a cooling sensation to the applied area, tricking the brain into thinking that the skin or body temperature is dropping. This desensitizes nerve endings and decreases arterial blood flow (Cleveland Clinic 2019).

 

Disclaimer:  The product and/or medical information provided on VeganMed is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product.

 

Looking for certified and verified animal-free products?

 

Want to learn more?

 

Thank you for your awareness and concern for animal-derived ingredients!

If you have any further questions about ingredients in your medicines and supplements, feel free to reach out to the VeganMed team!

 

Reference

  • Griffin, R. Morgan. “NSAIDs for Pain Relief.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/arthritis/features/pain-relief-how-nsaids-work.

  • Toussaint, K., et al. “What Do We (Not) Know about How Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) Works?” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, vol. 35, no. 6, 2010, pp. 617–638., doi:10.1111/j.1365-2710.2009.01143.x.

  • Mallet, Christophe, et al. “TRPV1 In Brain Is Involved in Acetaminophen-Induced Antinociception.” PLoS ONE, vol. 5, no. 9, 2010, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012748.

  • Cleveland Clinic. “Topical Pain Relief: What Is It + How Does It Work?” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 12 Sept. 2019, health.clevelandclinic.org/topical-pain-relief-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work/.


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