The dangerous of counter painkillers

unduhan-67More than 9 out of every 10 Americans use over-the-counter meds to manage pain, a new survey from the U.S. Pain Foundation found.

If you take them correctly, OTC painkillers are generally safe and effective, says Charles Vega, M.D., a clinical professor of health sciences at the University of California at Irvine.

But too many people don’t take the pills seriously—and skip the fine print on the bottle as a result, says Charles Vega, M.D., a clinical professor of health sciences at the University of California at Irvine.

“These are real medicines with real consequences,” Dr. Vega says.

Here are 5 common mistakes you might be making with your painkillers—and what might happen as a result.


A lot of people assume that by doubling the dosage, they’ll double the pill’s effectiveness.

But you’re probably just increasing your chances of side effects or even poisoning without getting any additional pain relief, Dr. Vega says.

Related: Gambling Addictions, Purple Sweat, Driving While Asleep—the Scary Side Effects Of Popular Meds

Lots of people learn this lesson the hard way. For example, taking too much acetaminophen—the active ingredient in Tylenol and many other OTC meds—is one of the most common causes of poisoning worldwide, the National Institutes of Health says.

“These OTC painkillers are shown to be effective at the dosage listed on the label,” Dr. Vega says.

For acetaminophen, that’s 4,000 milligrams (mg)—or 8 tablets of Tylenol Extra Strength—per day, max.

Pop two or three times the dosage of any painkiller, and you run the risk of nausea or an upset stomach, heartburn, rashes, or even liver or kidney damage, he says.


Unless you’re following a doctor’s instructions, you shouldn’t be taking OTC pain pills more than one or two days per month, Dr. Vega says.

For example, taking acetaminophen on a daily or weekly basis could raise your risk of liver failure or even death, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

And while A Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Can Help Your Heart if you’re already at risk of heart disease, it can also eat away at the lining of your stomach and gut.

In fact, daily aspirin may raise your risk of serious internal bleeding by 55 percent, a study in JAMA found.

Related: What You Should Do If You Pee Blood

So if you need painkillers on a daily or weekly basis—whether for joint pain, headaches, or something other chronic issue—see your doctor to identify your underlying problem and the best solution to actually treat it, Dr. Vega says.


The active ingredient in Tylenol is different from the active ingredient in Advil (or Aleve, or Bayer). You should take each painkiller’s specific method of action into account when choosing a pain reliever—rather than just popping whatever you have in your medicine cabinet, Dr. Vega says.

For example, ibuprofen—the active ingredient in Motrin IB or Advil—works by lowering your levels of certain inflammation-causing hormones.

That makes it a great option for arthritis pain or swelling, but it might not be as effective at knocking out a headache. In that case, acetaminophen might be your best bet, since it works by interfering with your brain’s pain receptors.