Do Vegan Pain Relievers Exist?
Updated: Jan 28
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.
Learn more about why "vegan medicine" does not always mean vegan and why we use the term "animal-free."
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)."
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."
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.
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 8 Hour Arthritis Pain Tablets with Acetaminophen for Joint Pain to be animal-free.
For further reading on animal-free oral pain relief, check out "Is Tylenol Vegan?" and "Is Ibuprofen Vegan?"