There has been a lot of discussion in the media, and here on this blog, about opioid abuse in America, but the majority of the population’s pain is being treated with over the counter medications. The assumption is that these medications are safe to use because they are available without a prescription. However, this eye opening piece from The New York Times explains the risks and repercussions of our self-medicating culture.
The article details how non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen can be used safely for treating acute pain problems — but that long-term use, a more is better mentality, and having certain health conditions while using these drugs — can all lead to adverse and sometimes dangerous effects. When taken long-term and in large doses for chronic pain, these drugs can cause liver and kidney damage, and when these medications are repeatedly taken on an empty stomach damage to the digestive tract can occur. This is an excellent reminder that all medications are the safest and most effective when used as directed.