Side effects of OTC pain medicines

During their lifetime, more than 100 million Americans have to suffer from chronic pains and one of the most popular way to ease those pains, for many people, is to use over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines. OTC pain medicines are medicines used to release the pains quickly and can be bought without the doctor’s prescription. Most OTC pain medicines contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which may cause serious side effects to our health if taken in excess. Unfortunately, most people who are taking those medicines are not fully aware of their dangerous side effects and how to take them safely.

Acetaminophen and liver

OTC pain killer

Acetaminophen is one of the most popular painkiller options among U.S. citizens. Although acetaminophen is proved to be extremely safe overall, the consumption of more than 4,000 milligrams per day may cause liver damage. In case of people with alcohol addiction or pre-existing liver disease, lower doses may also results in liver damage or failure.

NSAIDs and ulcers

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have been used largely because of their effectiveness as analgesics, antipyretics, and as anti-inflammatory agents. Unfortunately, the use of NSAIDs including aspirin can injure the gastric and duodenal mucosa, with considerable morbidity and mortality.

NSAIDs and kidney function

All NSAIDs are proved to be associated with the development of acute kidney injury. The risk is higher in patients who have co-existing risk factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

NSAIDs and miscarriage

According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, women who took NSAIDs during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy would be two times more likely to suffer from a miscarriage compared to those who didn’t. It is acknowledged that these drugs may interfere with prostaglandins hormones, which are important in inducing labor.

Painkillers and blood thinners

Ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin may lead to blood-thinning consequences on some people, particularly those who are on blood-thinning medications. Besides, NSAIDs are said to lead to high blood pressure.

How can you safely take OTC pain medicines?

– Read the labels carefully to find out the recommended amount for one time and during the whole day. Never think that more medicine is better or quicker. By contrast, the overconsumption may have negative effects on your health.

– If you are taking a prescription medicine, talk to your doctor whether you can take an OTC pain medicine or not.

– Never take more than one type of OTC pain reliever at a time unless your doctor allows. Different pain relievers may contain similar ingredients that add up to be too much medicine.

– Spend time checking if any types of OTC medicine you are taking contain acetaminophen or not. Excessive amount of acetaminophen input may cause several health problems.

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