Effects of Over-The-Counter Pain Meds

Posted by on June 11, 2020

There is no question about it. Over-the-counter painkillers bring relief to millions of Americans every day for headaches, back pain, arthritis, and other common issues. But these drugs – while inexpensive and convenient – aren’t foolproof, and certainly aren’t guaranteed to keep you safe from harmful side effects due to their misuse or regular use over a long period of time. It’s so easy just to pop in to a grocery store, drug store, or gas station and grab the quick fix for what ails you – but there’s nothing convenient about having to spend several nights in the hospital to treat gastrointestinal problems due to OTC painkiller misuse.

“Too often, consumers just want the pain to go away, so they take more medicine than the label instructs, and they don’t talk to their doctor about possible risks,” says Linda Golodner, president of the National Consumers League. “But just because a medication is available without a prescription doesn’t mean it’s risk-free.”

The reality is that, largely, consumers don’t understand the potential risks involved with the misuse of OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Use of OTC NSAIDs increases the risk of stomach bleeding by two to three times, and the most serious side effects can occur without warning symptoms. 

If you’re suffering from chronic pain and you feel like your only salvation is an OTC painkiller, you should discuss these issues with your doctor or chiropractor. Together you can decide what treatments might be good alternatives and would benefit you in the long run. Chronic problems are better resolved when you can focus on the root cause of the symptoms. A quick pop of the pill only masks a deeper problem that could potentially be treated without jeopardizing your health even more.

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