Pain killers that you buy over the counter such as Tylenol and ibuprofen, can help you overcome your headache and bone aches, but can also be dangerous. There are risks you need to know about.
For example, many people believe that acetaminophen and ibuprofen are safe. And, yes, if used correctly, they certainly are. Nevertheless, acetaminophen is responsible 50 percent of acute liver failures in the United States. In addition, acetaminophen is to blame for 50,000 emergency visits a year.
The key issue is that people don’t realize they’ve taken as much acetaminophen as they have. In addition to Tylenol, acetaminophen is also the key ingredient in other over the counter painkillers. For example, it is found in remedies for allergies, colds, flu, coughs and sleeplessness. Prescription painkiller such as Percoset and Vicodin also contain acetaminophen.
Pain: Keep Track of How Much You Take
You need to keep track of how much painkiller you’re taking. Exceeding the recommended daily dosage will put your liver in jeopardy. For example, if you’re taking Percoset and not getting relief, adding Tylenol might just be put you over the acetaminophen daily limit. Too much will weaken your liver. The liver is the organ that breaks down acetaminophen and releases it into the bloodstream. Too much will overload the liver to the point that it will shut down.
Therefore if you’re taking more than one medication, talk to your doctor and read the labels carefully. According to the FDA, the maximum of acetaminophen within a 24 hour period is 3,000 mg.
Doctors also recommend that you understand how these drugs work so that you don’t go over the daily limit. If you had too much to drink and decide to take a Tylenol; your liver now gets a double whammy. It has to contend with all that alcohol, plus now you added acetaminophen from the Tylenol. Your liver can go into overload.
Pain: Inflammation Can Be A Good Thing
Other over the counter painkillers such as naproxen are classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It decreases the amount of blood supply to the kidneys. And decreases pain by limiting inflammation. Inflammation allows blood to clot when a cut happens. The enzymes in anti-inflammatory drugs also increase the size of the blood vessels throughout the body, thereby making the heart stronger.
Furthermore, the anti inflammatories protects the stomach and intestines by building up their lining. When this protection is broken down, you could experience stomach upset, pr worse, a stomach ulcer.
Overdosing will make t difficult for your body to clot and stop any bleeding. A lack of clotting is very dangerous for people who are already taking blood thinners for other health conditions. Over the short-term, anti-inflammatorys will not pose a problem, but will increase the risks for those with chronic conditions.
Anti inflammatories are especially risky for senior citizens who have fewer proteins for these drugs to bind to. Consequently the drugs become more potent. The FDA suggests that senior citizens limit their use to a maximum of two weeks.
Alternative remedies for pain and inflammation are heat, ice, and physical therapy. Don’t hesitate to use them as they can be effective.