Over-the-Counter Pain Relief Can Be Dangerous!
More than 16,500 Americans die every year from over-use of products they probably bought in a drugstore. An additional 103,000 are hospitalized for complications resulting from these “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs” (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Contrary to popular belief, NSAIDs are equally harmful to everyone. Age is virtually irrelevant. So is gender and ethnicity. Consequently, more and more doctors are encouraging patients – even those living with long-term back pain or chronic pain conditions like osteoarthritis, neuropathy, fibromyalgia or carpal tunnel – to consider alternative pain relief strategies.
Look for the Warnings
The FDA requires manufacturers to place warning labels on all over-the-counter drug products, alerting consumers to potential risks. In addition, the Drug Facts box printed on every box and bottle must clearly state that users expose themselves to serious danger if they exceed the recommended number of daily doses or combine NSAIDs with one another and/or with alcohol. Here are some of those dangers:
Stomach and intestinal ulcers can develop because NSAIDs thin the lining of digestive organs, often allowing the medicine to burn a blister-like sore right through that lining.
Blood changes are not uncommon, especially with aspirin, because once inside the body it damages red blood cells. In addition, aspirin thins the blood, so it’s particularly hazardous to anyone taking a prescription blood thinner.
High blood pressure can occur.In one study researchers looked at men who regularly use over-the-counter pain relievers and found that they are 38% more likely to develop high blood pressure than those using no painkillers.
Liver damage is linked to acetaminophen (Tylenol). In fact, this NSAID causes three times as many cases of liver failure as all other drugs combined and is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.
You Can Protect Yourself.
It’s not hard to stay safe. Just use common sense and follow these tips:
Read before you swallow. Consumer research has found that 1 in 3 Americans never bothers to read the label instructions on over-the-counter drugs. Even if you do, the only safe way to take any NSAID is to follow directions from your doctor. Don’t assume the bottle label tells you enough. Always refer to the detailed information sheet folded inside the box, and check with your healthcare provider before dosing.
Never self-prescribe. If your individual pain tolerance is low, you may feel the need to take a higher than recommended dosage. For those with severe conditions the recommended dose often fails to provide adequate relief. The point is, a need to stop pain fast can motivate many people to take more than they should, more often than they should. Never use a higher than recommended dosage. And never take the medication more often than recommended.
Don’t combine NSAIDs with alcohol. Alcohol can cause stomach and intestinal irritation. So can aspirin. Put them to together and you double your risk for ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. Research also suggests that if you consume three or more alcoholic drinks per day while using acetaminophen, you’re at increased risk for severe liver damage.
Whenever Possible, Opt for Herbal.
There are many effective and affordable herbal remedies out there, designed to ease a wide range of everyday health problems. Popular for pain relief are all-herbal Premiere’s Pain Spray Mist and Pain Spray Roll-On. Both pain-away formulas are all-natural and can temporarily relieve common aches and pains. The more you use, the stronger the relief. A favorite nationwide for over 25 years, the Spray Most and Roll-On formulas offer fast relief that lasts for hours.