Are Those Pink ‘Period Pain’ Tablets Actually More Effective At Sorting Out Cramps?

STELLAR chats to a pharmacist about your period pain-relief options.

Have you ever seen those pink packets of Panadol and Nurofen that were designed especially for treating period pain?

They’re not widely available in Ireland, but we have spotted them abroad and wondered if we’re all missing a trick not hopping on the pink Panadol train. Are they actually more effective at sorting out period pain than the not-pink Panadol?

To find the answers, we turned to Edel, the pharmacist behind the blog The Pharmer’s Journal.

She said that unfortunately, these products are just a (pretty clever) marketing ploy, and often an example of ‘pink tax’ in action.

‘Pink tax’ is the extra amount women are charged for certain goods and services, often because they come in ‘female-friendly’ pink packaging. You know how women’s razors and shaving foam often cost more than men’s? That.

When you look at the ingredients, Panadol and Nurofen Period Pain are identical to other products on the market:

Panadol Period Pain contains 500mg paracetamol and 65mg caffeine, making it the exact same product as Panadol Extra, minus the packaging. Meaning – choose whichever product is priced lower.

Nurofen Period Pain, meanwhile, contains the 200mg of ibuprofen, the exact same amount as regular Nurofen tablets.

One ‘pink’ product that is actually effective is Feminax, which contains paracetamol, caffeine, hyoscine (a muscle relaxant) and codeine. The latter ingredient makes it a restricted sale item in Ireland, meaning the pharmacist will have to ask you a few questions to see if it’s suitable for you before selling it.

“Feminax is indicated for short term use only (maximum three days), as it’s highly addictive,” says Edel. “The hyoscine is a muscle relaxant, making it an effective treatment for cramps associated with periods.”

If you’re now wondering how best to tackle period pain, the answer will most likely be your common-or-garden generic ibuprofen, which will be kinder to your wallet, too.

Ibuprofen-based medications will treat period pain more effectively than paracetamol, due to their anti-inflammatory effect. However, ibuprofen is contraindicated in those suffering from asthma or stomach acidity, with paracetamol often being a ‘safer’ ingredient to take, provided it’s being taken correctly.

Vital knowledge. We’ll find a way to nip you in the bud once and for all some day, period pain.