How to Decrease the Risk of Pain Relievers


“The main thing that separates humans from animals is the human desire for pills"

How to Decrease the Risk of Pain Relievers

Author
- Dr. Gifford Jones  Sunday, February 24, 2013
| Print friendly | Email Us

“Remember, you never get anything for nothing”. That’s a caution I’ve repeated over and over to patients. Why? Because some people naively believe it’s possible to get health benefit without risk. Today, millions are popping a variety of over-the-counter pain relievers while ignoring important red flags warning they may result in death.

Heart and Stroke Risk

The American Heart Association reports that, with the exception of acetylsalicylate acid (Aspirin) and possibly naproxen (Aleve), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. This is particularly true for those who have already suffered heart attack or are at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

Now, a report in the Journal “Circulation” has more disturbing news. Dr. Anne-Marie Olsen, a researcher at the Copenhagen Hospital in Denmark, reports that patients who have had a previous coronary attack and now take pain killers have a 30 percent increased risk of dying after one year. In another Danish study the risk increased even in healthy people!

Gastrointestinal (GI) Risk

It’s estimated that about 24,000 North Americans taking NSAIDs die from GI bleeding every year. NSAIDs block the enzyme COX-1 that normally protects the stomach’s lining.  The risk is greater for those using NSAIDs for a prolonged time, those over age 60, and those who take blood thinning medication or steroids. Some studies reveal that as many as five to 10 percent of NSAIDs users experience an episode of bleeding or develop a stomach ulcer in any given year. Stomach medication can help to decrease this risk.

Blood Pressure

Aspirin tends to lower blood pressure if taken at night. NSAIDs have been linked to increases in blood pressure, particularly for those being treated for hypertension.

Kidney Risk

NSAIDS, and to a lesser extent acetaminophen (Tylenol), can damage kidneys if used over a long period of time. About five percent of patients who are currently on kidney dialysis would not be attached to these life-saving machines if they had not abused their kidneys by taking too many minor painkillers. This is a huge price to pay for popping pills that in many cases are not needed.

Liver Risk

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a good pain reliever and does not pose the same danger to the cardiovascular system or gastrointestinal tract. But like any medication it must be taken correctly. Unfortunately, the common error is to overdose. It’s so easy to fall into this trap. Since several other pain relievers contain acetaminophen, people may consume more than they realize. The best precaution is to always read the labels on pain medication to make sure you’re not doubling or tripling the dose.

Too much Tylenol is toxic to the liver, particularly if consumed in large amounts with alcohol. Today, acetaminophen poisoning (half of these cases are accidental) is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States.

A Fact Many Consumers Don’t Know

Today, many people are taking an 81 milligram Aspirin tablet to decrease the risk of coronary attack. Aspirin works by making platelets slippery so they are less likely to form a fatal blood clot. It accomplishes this by attaching itself to an enzyme called cyclooxygenase that controls the level of thromboxane A2. It, in turn, controls platelet stickiness. But naproxen and ibuprofen also seek out this enzyme and if they arrive first there’s no room for Aspirin. So it’s prudent to take Aspirin 30 minutes before these medications or eight hours after.

Don’t Stop NSAIDs Cold Turkey

A report from The Harvard Medical School claims a sudden stoppage of this medication makes it more likely that a blood clot will form.

Don’t Abuse Painkillers

Patients who suffer from arthritis and other chronic conditions may need these painkillers. Here, the benefit far outweighs the risk. But too many people take them for trivial aches and pains causing needless injury to liver and kidneys. As Sir William Osler wisely remarked, “The main thing that separates humans from animals is the human desire for pills.
I say amen to that.

Disqus Comments

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker’s website is: docgiff.com.

Dr. Walker can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

.






Most Shared CFP stories



What's New On CFP:

  1. Saudi prince giving away his money buying immortality for the Democrats?
    By Judi McLeod -- --Cover Story
  2. Problem solved, TV Land: Here’s your new, politically correct Dukes of Hazzard
    By Dan Calabrese -- --Cover Story
  3. San Francisco politicians have blood on their hands
    By Matthew Vadum -- --Cover Story
  4. They’re Just Committing the Crimes Americans Won’t Commit
    By Selwyn Duke -- --Cover Story
  5. Email Dumps Continue to Undermine Clinton Candidacy
    By Roger Aronoff -- --American Politics
  6. Donald and other things
    By George Giftos -- --Letter
  7. Gov. Bobby Jindal to Hannity – “I invite Americans to join a cause, not a campaign”
    By Rev. Michael Bresciani -- --American Politics
  8. Millions Barred From Leaving Russia Due to Unpaid Debt
    By News on the Net -- --News Headlines
  9. Sturgeon jumps on boat, kills girl, 5, and injures two others
    By News on the Net -- --News Headlines
  10. Time for Civil Disobedience, Christians
    By Matt Barber -- --American Politics
  11. The Problematic Scenarios in Syria: The Choices Facing Israel
    By INSS -- --World News
  12. River of Fire Smoke Darkens Sun and Moon
    By News on the Net -- --News Headlines
  13. Obama Admin Knew Al-Qaeda Was Planning Attack in Benghazi 10 DAYS IN ADVANCE
    By News on the Net -- --News Headlines
  14. Jay Sekulow Band - God Bless The USA feat Lee Greenwood
    By News on the Net -- --Video
  15. Hillary, Can you explain why emails submitted from your secret server appear to have been altered?
    By Dag Barkley -- --Cartoons
  16. Whither the “Love” in Illegal Alien Francisco Sanchez, Jeb Bush?
    By John Lillpop -- --Crime-Terror-Security
  17. The shrinking workforce of Obama’s America
    By Herman Cain -- --American Politics
  18. The real low-down on Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change
    By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh -- --Cover Story
  19. In the Year of Our Lord, 2015 and of Our Independence, 239
    By Gary Hunt -- --American Politics
  20. For Independence Day: A Review of Emerson’s “Concord Hymn”
    By Arthur Christopher Schaper -- --American Politics
  21. SCOTUS Ignites New Level of Resistance
    By Lloyd Marcus -- --American Politics
  22. Image of Shakespeare Discovered in Botanical Tome
    By Wes Porter -- --Life-Pets-Gardens-Food
  23. The Darkness Hormone
    By Dr. Gifford Jones -- --Medical News
  24. Mexican Illegal Alien Francisco Sanchez Proves Donald Trump Correct!
    By John Lillpop -- --American Politics
  25. That Ragged Old Flag
    By News on the Net -- --Video
  26. Illegal alien celebrates 4th of July jailed for murdering American woman
    By Jim Kouri -- --American Politics
  27. 4th of July Means Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness for All, Except Unborn Babies
    By News on the Net -- --News Headlines
  28. Happy Independence Day
    By Sandy Stringfellow -- --Cover Story
  29. George Takei—too dumb to be a real racist
    By Arthur Weinreb -- --Cover Story
  30. Supreme Court Ignores Our Constitution and Wears the Hats of Obama-type Fascists
    By Jerry McConnell -- --Cover Story










Caruba: Professional Writing Services