Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), or aspirin, may temporarily ease pain. But check with your doctor before taking NSAIDs; in older adults, they can increase the risk of stomach irritation and bleeding ulcers, raise blood pressure, and affect the kidneys.
Some doctors have turned to off-label prescribing of the nerve pain medication pregabalin (Lyrica) to ease sciatica, hoping the drug would relieve symptoms in the same way it helps relieve types of pain caused by nerve damage, such as diabetic neuropathy. But a new study has crushed those hopes. In a trial that involved 209 patients with sciatica, volunteers taking pregabalin fared no better than patients given a placebo pill, according to findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine in March 2017. And since the drug has side effects, ranging from dizziness, blurred vision, and drowsiness to changes in sexual function, the best advice is not to take pregabalin for sciatica.