- Many Americans may be playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette when it comes to numbing their pain. A new survey shows nearly half of the 175 million adults who take over-the -counter pain relievers admit to exceeding the recommended dose, and few are aware of the potential risks.
Although most nonprescription pain relievers are safe for healthy people when used as directed, some of the most commonly used medications, known as NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can cause potentially deadly side effects. NSAIDs include aspirin and drugs containing ibuprofen or naproxen, such as Advil and Aleve.
Researchers say that 16,500 people die and 103,000 are hospitalized each year because of NSAID-related problems.
The survey shows that 50% of respondents who took an over-the -counter pain medication in the last year were not concerned about side effects, and nearly half of them said it is more important to control pain regardless of risk. Exceeding the recommended dosage, taking the drugs for an extended period of time, taking them along with other pain medications, and taking NSAIDs in combination with alcohol can all increase the risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding or other side effects.
Many people donít know what prescription drugs they are on, but if it is a drug to treat any type of pain, it could pose a risk if taken with an over-the - counter NSAID. The survey showed that more than half of the over-the-counter drug users do not talk with their doctor about their over-the-counter medication use and even fewer doctors initiate discussions about over-the-counter medications.
1. If you are taking any prescribed medication discuss taking over-the-counter medication with your doctor or pharmacist. Often your pharmacist will be the best choice, because they are trained in drug interactions and side-effects of medication.
2. Read the all instructions and warnings on all medications.
3. Take all medications as directed on the label.
4. Do not combine different pain medications, unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
5. Avoid drinking alcohol if you are taking an NSAID or Tylenol.
6. Do not take any pain medication on a long-term daily basis, unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
7. For osteoarthritis pain try taking glucosamine and or Chondroiten,they can help relieve the painand may also slow the progress of osteoarthritis.
8. Fish oil and flax seed oil (Omega 3 fatty acids) are natural anti-inflammatory supplements that have many health benefits.
9. Exercise is an excellent pain reliever.
10. Reduce/Avoid inflammatory foods such as dairy and red meat.