How Over-the-Counter Painkillers Damage Your Health

Taking painkillers even for low-grade pain has since become a detrimental habit, mainly because of the side effects. You may not have a problem with popping these drugs to address your headache or throbbing back pain, but you need to know that the physical relief these can bring are not without risks, especially if you’re not using them as instructed.

In most cases, these drugs are safe as long as they’re taken suitably. Their general safety is the reason why they’re being sold over-the-counter in the first place. However, there are also some instances where people tend to use these drugs inappropriately. And that’s where the problem begins. Here are ways these pain medications may be harming your health:

Liver damage

Hurting your liver is one of the well-known risks brought by painkillers and this is because of acetaminophen. Though it’s generally regarded to be harmless, it can cause toxicity to the liver when you’re using over 4,000 mg per day. Hence, taking eight 500-mg pills is not a good idea. This dosage is comparable to that of extra-strength Tylenol. If you already have a liver problem, such as hepatitis C, acetaminophen can still further damage your liver even with smaller doses. This is also the case when you’re a regular alcohol drinker.

Since acetaminophen is also integrated into other drugs, it could be challenging to precisely know how much you’re consuming. It’s also mixed in numerous other solutions for colds or sinus symptoms, as well as being typically partnered with other stronger drugs, such as Vicodin. The problem is that many people aren’t aware of this fact, which leads them to inadvertently consume acetaminophen in great doses that go beyond the normal one.

Ulcers

While ibuprofen and naproxen are not as damaging to the liver as acetaminophen is, there could be still be harm done to the stomach lining, which can cause blood loss from the affected spot, stomachaches, and ulcers. This is the same case with aspirin, which is linked to NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Hence, if you use aspirin alongside ibuprofen or naproxen, it may significantly harm your stomach. In fact, any of these medications can already cause ulcers. Using them altogether can only heighten the possibility.

This is because these drugs alleviate pain through their effects on the prostaglandin conduits. The bad news is that those very same outcomes are the ones that increases risk of stomach pain and contributes to the development of ulcer.

Kidney problems

Whilst it is uncommon, some individuals could develop kidney issues from using ibuprofen or naproxen. It’s a rare outcome, but when it happens it’s usually serious. This can possibly occur to people who are already suffering from serious health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Miscarriage

A research found that women taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during their first 20 weeks of pregnancy are more than twice as possible to miscarry. Researchers believed that this is because such medications could hamper with prostaglandin levels, the hormone that’s mainly responsible for inciting labor. Hence, it is important for pregnant women to consult their doctor first before taking any painkiller.

Antidepressants

A latest research shows that taking NSAIDs could lessen the efficacy of antidepressants. However, further studies are required to arrive at a more definitive conclusion. Only then will a recommendation be formed.

Blood thinners

Ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin produce a minor blood-thinning result. While this isn’t an issue for most individuals, those who are already on blood-thinning medications may have a problem. People who are already taking blood thinners for clot prevention may experience accidental over-thinning of the blood and severe risks of bleeding when taking painkillers like the ones mentioned.

Also, these medications have been demonstrated to increase blood pressure. Said increase is minor in most instances, but this can still be changeable. Hence, it is important to see your doctor before taking any painkiller, especially if you have any pre-existing medical condition. That’ll surely prevent you from making your health state worse.

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