We’re a nation addicted to painkillers.
And while you can’t turn on the news or go online without hearing about the opioid epidemic that’s sweeping our nation I’m not talking about those painkillers today.
No, I’m talking about a drug you have in your own medicine cabinet right this very minute.
An over the counter medication that you likely reach for whenever you have an ache, pain or even a stomach bug.
NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are as common as Crockpots in American homes.
- ibuprofen (such as Motrin or Advil)
- naproxen (such as Aleve)
- aspirin (such as Bayer)
Many of us use them at least once a week. Some of us take them far more often.
But now Boston University researchers are warning that 15 percent of Americans are swallowing dangerously high doses of these painkillers.
And with experts estimating that Americans down 30 billion doses of these drugs every year that means we’re talking about the most overlooked overdose crisis in our nation.
And you may be at risk too.
Killer painkillers may be putting you in danger
As we’ve warned Healthier Talk readers many times in the past NSAID drugs can come with serious, and even deadly, side effects including stomach bleeding, kidney damage and heart attacks.
In fact, NSAID side effects are among the most common drug side effects in the United States.
But because they’re over the counter, and so common, most of us feel safe taking them. And since folks can choose their own dosages, many people simply take more when their pain is intense or doesn’t go away quickly enough.
NSAIDs work by blocking the enzymes which trigger inflammation causing prostaglandins. But some of those same chemicals help keep your tummy coated in protective mucus too.
Without that protective coating, your digestive acids start damaging your stomach lining and this can lead to ulcers and life-threatening bleeding.
Non-aspirin NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen could also raise your risk for a heart attack by up to 75 percent. And researchers say using these painkillers for as little as one week may be all it takes to send your risk soaring.
And the new study reveals how these shockingly common overdoses can happen to anyone… even YOU!
Overdosing on NSAID painkillers shockingly common
Volunteers for the new study kept online medication diaries for one week to record their use of any drugs.
All of the participants took ibuprofen during the week and 87 percent of them were taking nonprescription, over the counter products.
But while 55 percent took ibuprofen at least three days a week, that wasn’t even the biggest issue. A full 37 percent of the volunteers also took at least one other NSAID during the week, such as naproxen or aspirin.
And although combining the products significantly raised their risk for bleeding and ulcers, over 60 percent of them weren’t even aware that the products they were taking were NSAIDs.
In other words, the volunteers were overdosing on the painkillers but had no clue they were even in danger.
The researchers say that more than one in 10 people who use ibuprofen products such as Advil or Motrin may be taking more than the maximum dose.
And almost one in four folks taking naproxen products such as Aleve could be overdosing.
Natural painkillers offer relief without danger
The truth is there are far safer ways to tackle pain that won’t put you at risk for terrible side effects. And we’ve shared many of them right here in Healthier Talk.
Acupuncture, chiropractic care and certain supplements such as inflammation-fighting turmeric are all proven pain relievers.
And topical painkillers such as arnica cream and MSM can erase the pain almost instantly for many folks.
If you’re waking up in pain our 7 ache easing tricks to wake up refreshed might be able to help.
Or if you’re suffering with joint pain the tips in our free report 3 proven ways to kiss your joint pain goodbye could be just what that doctor ordered.
I encourage you to use the search feature right here on Healthier Talk. Enter the word “pain” to find your own perfect pain relieving solution.
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