If you have a headache or back pain, your natural reaction would be to take a painkiller to ease the pain. However, before you pop a painkiller the next time, make sure that you are taking the safest one. Not all painkillers, including prescription and OTC, painkillers are safe. Some of them can react with other medications that you are taking, while others can cause digestive problems.
What is the Safest Painkiller?
While there are many painkillers in the market, one of the safest is acetaminophen. However, just like any other medication, taking large amounts of acetaminophen can be dangerous. As long as you take the recommended dose of the medication and do not mix it with alcohol, acetaminophen is extremely safe.
However, acetaminophen can cause liver damage if taken in large amounts for a prolonged period of time. It can cause liver failure. In the US, every year around 450 deaths are recorded due to overdose of the medication.
When it comes to older adults, the risk of heart attack and stomach bleeding due to painkillers is a cause for concern. These older adults will be benefited by taking naproxen to ease pain. This medication is available over-the-counter, but can cause stomach irritation. But the irritation can be eased by taking a medication for acid reflux. Naproxen is considered one of the safest painkillers for older adults and seniors.
How Much Acetaminophen Should You Take
A person should not more than 4,000 mg of acetaminophen per day. Also, those with existing liver problems should stay away from the medication. However, prolonged use of acetaminophen should be avoided. The dosage of the painkiller is not the same for children. They have to be given a lower dosage. Hence, when it comes to children, it is best to consult a pediatrician before giving the child any medication.
There are other painkillers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, which people also take. However, these painkillers can cause health problems if taken for prolonged period of time. Some of the health issues include kidney problems and ulcers in the stomach.
Research has also shown that anti-inflammatory medications, such as Voltaren, Vioxx and Cataflam, have the potential of increasing a person’s risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Hence, these are medications that are not considered safe even though they are effective painkillers. These medications have to be taken under supervision of a qualified doctor.
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CBS News: Which Painkiller Is Safest?