“The Dangers of Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers” – AARP

“Some can be deadly. Some hit older adults harder than others. How to know how much is too much”

Various pills bottles and heap of drugs

by Betsy Stephens

“If the good news is that over-the-counter pain killers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen won’t put you at risk for addiction issues like prescription opioids or narcotics can, the less good news is that no pain pill comes without the potential for problems, says Nitin Sekhri, medical director of pain management at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y.

“Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is considered the safest option by many, and yet, Sekhri notes, it’s still to blame for about 50 percent of acute liver failures in the U.S. Acetaminophen also is the leading reason behind calls to poison control and to blame for more than 50,000 emergency room visits a year.

“Often problems arise from people not realizing they’ve taken as much acetaminophen as they have. The over-the-counter painkiller isn’t just in Tylenol: It shows up in remedies meant to fight allergies, colds, flu, coughs and sleeplessness. It’s also an ingredient in prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet.”

Read this article in its entirety at AARP, click here.

 

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