Most Common Ingredients in Medicine

Many of us regularly take at least one form of over the counter medication. Although these medications may come with a list of ingredients, understanding what these ingredients are and what they do can be tricky. Here are details of some of the most common ingredients in medicine.


This ingredient is commonly used for pain relief and reducing fever. This ingredient is part of a group of fever reducers and pain relievers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS for short. Aspirin can also be added to a wide range of different types of medication to treat symptoms such as upset stomach, heartburn and sleeplessness.


This is usually found in weight loss aids. This drug prevents the fat from certain types of food from being absorbed by the body. However, it can also reduce the absorption of certain vitamins, so it is recommended that people who take medicine containing orlisat also take multi-vitamin tablets.

Methyl Salicylate

This ingredient is used in lotions that are intended for external pain relief. While methyl salicylate can help to relieve muscle and join aches and pains, it must only be applied to the skin, never used internally. It is important to make sure that medicine containing this ingredient does not have contact with the nose or eyes.


If you are suffering from heartburn, you may well find that cimetidine is the main active ingredients in the medication you are given. This ingredient works to reduce acid and is actually part of a special group of acid reducers that are called H2 blockers or histamine-2 antagonists. Cimetidine is known to react with certain types of medication such as medicine for asthma and blood thinners. Therefore, it is important to seek medical advice before taking medicine containing cimetidine.


This ingredient is believed to prevent tooth decay and is therefore commonly found in toothpaste as well as other types of oral hygiene products such as mouthwash. However, people who swallow too much fluoride can develop dental fluorosis where their teeth become permanently stained white.


This ingredient is used in a wide range of different types of medicine, generally to relive pain and itching. Benzocaine is a type of topical analgesic and while it can be used in the mouth, it must never be swallowed.