Taking Pain Drugs Safely

Jan 15, 2017

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Over-the-counter painkillers are easy to find at your local pharmacy.

Over-the-counter painkillers are easy to find at your local pharmacy. The many brands and options mean a slew of directions, warnings, and anxiety about how to properly take the medication. When almost 50 percent of adults in the United States take painkillers, misinformation spreads fast, and increased reports of emergency room visits from accidental overdosage can make some concerned about how they can orally treat their pain.

We always recommend that patients see a medical pain expert when experiencing pain strong enough to stop you from fulfilling daily tasks. At the same time, if that option is not available or you need to find a temporary painkiller until visiting a clinic, this is what you need to know about safely taking pain medications.

Do Your Research for Over-the-Counter Products

Even when the Food and Drug Administration approves a medicine product for over-the-counter use, future or current developments may reveal that the product is not as safe as initially thought. For example, acetaminophen (a common agent within painkillers) can cause severe liver damage, and it was only recently that the FDA reduced the recommended dosage amount and increased the times in between when one may take it due to frequent news stories about medical issues.

Never Combine Pain Relievers of the Same Type

You never want to take two kinds of medication that do the same thing. If you are still experiencing pain from arthritis after taking Naproxen, don’t try to double up on the relief with ibuprofen. Doing so risks overdosing on the active agents present in both drugs. You should always read the label for any medication you take. Something as simple as a cold-and-sinus medication can contain acetaminophen.

If You Drink, Know How it Affects The Drug

You should always expect mixing alcohol with a prescription or over-the-counter drug to be a bad idea. Many drugs that are usually considered safe can turn on you when drinks come into the picture. Some people assume that if they stay under the drinking limit (with acetaminophen, mixing it with three drinks can cause liver damage) they will be all right, but poured drinks in public spaces are usually bigger than the standard sizes. Mixing medication with alcohol can also render the medication ineffective.

The best way to treat your pain in an efficient, safe way is to consult with your local medical expert. If you are in the New Jersey area, contact us at Garden State Pain Center to speak with a pain consultant that can help find the best treatment.