Most folks will find their way to a doctor’s office or an emergency room when they experience pain that is not controlled by aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Tylenol #4, which contains codeine, will often reduce the pain. However, anything with codeine can only be prescribed by a physician.
Many folks are allergic to codeine. Another group of drugs known as steroids are often used for painful conditions. However, they can cause complications and should only be prescribed by a physician.
Several years ago, a new class of drugs, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), were introduced as pain relievers. These drugs, such as Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, Naprosyn and Aleve, were very effective in relieving pain in many medical conditions; however, side effects, such as bleeding in the stomach along with liver toxicity, resulted. They were only made available by prescription from a doctor.
As time went on, the pharmaceutical companies convinced those in charge of our healthcare that these drugs could be reduced in strength and sold over-the-counter. This was a bad move. Folks could buy the drug and double the dose to get what in the past could only be prescribed by a physician. This self-medication led to folks to experience the above- mentioned side effects.
Getting to the heart of the matter, researchers have shown that NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. A recent study by Dr. Emil Foshbol, of Gentofte University Hospital, in Copenhagen, Denmark, found that NSAID drugs may be the cause of cardiac disease.
Many studies are now being done to understand the relationship of these drugs to cardiovascular disease. It is important for people in older age groups to use these drugs only when prescribed by a physician since NSAIDs can increase the risk of hemorrhaging (bleeding) in the stomach area.
These drugs also cause sodium retention, which can result in swelling of the legs and the collection of fluid in the lungs. Other side effects, such as headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, colitis, blood disorders, depression and a host of other adverse reactions, can occur. These side effects are usually listed on the circular that comes with the medications and should be read before taking them. Just remember, pain pills can be at the heart of the problem.
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