As you age, your body functions start to get rusty, which means it doesn’t work as good as before and systems start to slow down. Let’s get your digestive system as an example. When you were younger, you could eat almost anything. However, as time goes by, your digestive system gets weaker, thus, harder foods become more difficult for your stomach to digest. The same goes with your liver. One of the functions of the liver is to clear the blood from drugs and other harmful substances. However, like your digestive system, the liver’s power becomes weaker as you age, thus filtering the chemicals from these synthetic drugs can be challenging and in worse cases, it might even damage the liver. Over-the-counter pain relievers are not difficult to buy. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to get your hands on them. Usually, some people buy them for stock at home and for their medicine kit or first aid kit, whenever unexpected instances that demands pain relief occur. Since these drugs are not regulated, some people tend to just take it without thinking about the negative effects. Being the normal response of a person in times of pain, all you care about is to find a relief.
Pain Relievers in a Nutshell
Here are the 5 worst side effects that you can get in taking over-the-counter pain relievers:
Liver failure occurs when the liver is damaged beyond repair. It is damaged when it is exposed in too much chemicals from the medicines you are taking, and acetaminophen can do the job. Acetaminophen is a drug ingredient that is most widely used in the U.S.. It is found in more than 600 prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications which include allergy pills, cold medicines, cough syrups, headache pills, sleep aids and pain relievers for arthritis. More than 50 million Americans use acetaminophen each week so their exposure to the ingredient is really high.
Long-term addiction usually occurs when you are taking pain relievers on a regular basis and you develop tolerance to the drug, which means you feel like you need a regular supply of the drug. Without it, you feel an extreme need and longing for it. Some even jitters in the absence of the drug. Yes, the same thing happens when someone gets addicted to illegal drugs. You start to look for the drug not because you want to reduce the effects of pain, but because you start to suffer from the effects of withdrawal when treatment is stopped. This manifests itself as pain and flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include headaches, nausea, general soreness, and even random spasms. In some cases, sufferers may also find their relationships with others being compromised as a result of the addiction. How is it treated? Painkiller withdrawal treatment tends to follow an intake pattern which depends on the specific painkiller and dose. It varies from one medicine to another. The main goal of the treatment is for the sufferer to be weaned off of the drug, and then they will be encouraged to seek counseling and support.
Cardiovascular side effects including two cases of hypotension have been reported following the administration of acetaminophen, the most commonly used drug ingredient for pain relievers. Hypotension is the opposite of hypertension, which means pain relievers containing acetaminophen can lower your blood pressure. Low blood pressure often results to:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Dehydration and unusual thirst
- Lack of concentration
- Blurred vision
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
In some cases, acetaminophen containing pain relievers also causes palpitation or rapid heart beat.
According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, it was found out that women taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during their first 20 weeks of pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have a miscarriage. The researchers theorized (which means the research is still subject to further validation) that these drugs may interfere with levels of prostaglandins or the hormones that are important in inducing labor. Which means labor probably occurs early due to the effect of the drugs. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and want to take any medication, including painkillers, be sure to discuss it with your doctor first.
Studies show that about 10 percent of patients using opioids (a stronger type of pain killer) develop some kind of depression. But what about over-the-counter pain relievers? Since acetaminophen containing pain relievers can cause low blood pressure, having a low blood pressure can also make one vulnerable to depression.
Other Side Effect
There are many prescribed and over-the-counter medicines that can cause constipation. Taking several medicines that can cause constipation, or taking large doses of these medicines can increase the risk of becoming severely constipated. Constipation is the most common side effect of taking opioids regularly for pain. Once constipation starts, it rarely gets better on its own without treatment. Regardless of purpose or condition, taking over-the-counter pain relievers should not be taken lightly. Inevitably, synthetic drugs definitely have side effects. So the best practice is to consult your doctor before taking any medication because your doctor knows best.