What is the most common type of medicine in your medicine cabinet? Like most Americans, the medicine cabinet is most likely to contain one or more type of over the counter painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. Many people remain unaware of the Risks of OTC for pain management. Over 2.5 billion dollars are spent on non-prescription drugs alone in America each year. While most people might not think twice about taking the OTC painkillers, there are numerous risks associated with them.
Risks of OTC for pain management
In most cases, these painkillers are safe when taken for just pain. However, that is not the case most of the time as they are used improperly. The following are some of the risks of OTC for pain management when used improperly.
1. Acetaminophen and the risks of liver damages
Acetaminophen is known to cause liver damage when used improperly. It is a safe painkiller that has been used for years but high doses of more than 4,000 milligrams a day can be dangerous. Acetaminophen is found in several other drugs something that makes it difficult for people to know the exact dosage. Liver damage usually occurs when taken in high doses. Individuals who smoke and drink are also susceptible to liver damage from acetaminophen in small dosage.
2. NSAIDS and ulcers
Naproxen and ibuprofen do no cause any liver damage but can cause stomach ulcers. These painkillers cause irritations to the stomach lining leading to blood loss and stomach pains. Aspirin is also known to behave the same way when taken in high doses. These drugs all cause stomach ulcers and the risks increase when used together.
3. NSAIDS and kidney function
There have been reported cases of people suffering from kidney problems for using ibuprofen and naproxen. Cases of NSAIDS affecting the kidney are rare but have been reported. Renal failure is common in patients who have co-existing kidney problems.
4. NSAIDS and miscarriage
Studies have shown that women who take NSAIDS in the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy are twice likely to have a miscarriage than those who don’t. These drugs interfere with the hormones that are crucial in inducing labor.
5. NSAIDS and antidepressants
NSAIDS have been found to reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants.
6. Painkillers and blood thinners
Painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen have been found to have blood-thinning effects. This problem can occur to anybody but is not a big deal unless you already have a blood thinning effect.
It is important to discuss with your doctor about ant OTC painkillers you might be taking and any associated side effects. OTC painkillers are safe enough, and that is why they are sold over the counter, but it does not mean they are risk-free. The risks of OTC for pain management are real, and patients must always take them according to instructions.