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Painkillers or analgesics: Side-effects and precautions


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  1. #1
    vijigermany's Avatar
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    Painkillers or analgesics: Side-effects and precautions

    Painkillers or analgesics: Side-effects and precautions

    Pain, it seems has become a common occurrence in people’s lives. From an annoying back ache to a sprained ankle; our daily lives throw a number of painful challenges our way. The only way to forge ahead is to pop a painkiller and rush out of the door. But have you ever imagined what effect those innocuous-looking little pill has on your body? According to the American Gastroenterological Association, 103,000 people are hospitalized every year because of side effects from common painkillers.
    Painkillers are divided into –

    1. OTC or over the counter painkillers (ones which you can buy without a prescription) eg: Paracetamol, Ibuprofen etc



    1. or 2. prescription only painkillers. They basically act by interfering with the ‘pain’ signal being transmitted to the brain in case of an injury, inflammation or other causes. Thus, essentially, the effect of the painkiller tablets cannot be directed only towards the area from which the pain originates. It has effects which can be seen on many of our organ systems.

    Whatever the reason for popping that painkiller, here are a few dos and don’ts you should know:


    • Don’t take the painkiller on an empty stomach:
    • Most painkillers, especially NSAIDs, are known to cause ulcers and gastroenterological problems, leading to acidity. A meal before a painkiller helps protect the stomach from the ill effects.
    • Stay away from the booze:
    • Alcohol and pain medication do not mix. Side effects could vary from drowsiness to acidity. In some case it can even be fatal, leading to a cardiac arrest or a stroke.
    • Drink lots of water:
    • When you are on any kind of medication, it is your kidney that bears the brunt. Although, painkillers help to reduce pain, they are difficult to get out of the system. Therefore make sure you drink enough water while taking painkillers, this will help your kidney easily flush out the toxins associated with the medicine.
    • Do not crush or break the pill:
    • Although it may seem like a good idea to have half a tablet or even one and a half, it has been proven by numerous studies, that breaking a pill is an inaccurate way of self medication. This is because you cannot correctly gauge the amount of the medicine you are having, leading to over dosage or even inefficiency of the drug. Ideally unless your doctor tells you to have half a pill, breaking it is a bad idea.
    • Do not make it a habit:
    • Although over the counter painkillers are available, it is always best to consult your doctor if you need to take them for more than one or two days. There might be a more serious problem which might require immediate attention.
    • Ask your doctor about its side effects:
    • There are some painkillers that can make you drowsy after eating them. Make sure you check the label on the tablet pack to check for any precautions you might have to take. Alternatively you could just ask your doctor about any such effects the drug might have.
    • Let your doctor know about other medicines you are on: Painkillers can cause adverse reactions if taken in combination with some drugs you might be taking for heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy etc. So, let your doctor know your medical history and the medicines you are on before being prescribed painkillers.
    • Do not take more than one painkiller at a time:
    • Under a number of circumstances, you might be tempted to pop more than one painkiller at a time. On an average a painkiller will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to take action. The rate at which it works on your body varies depending on how frequently you have painkillers and the intensity of the pain. Be patient, and wait for the painkiller to take action. Having more than one painkiller at a time can have drastic side effects such as kidney failure, abnormal blood clotting, bleeding into the stomach, cardiac arrest and even stroke. If the pain is unbearable, visit your doctor. He/she would be best equipped to guide you.
    • Beware of addiction:
    • Since some prescription painkillers act like narcotics, they can be highly addictive in nature. There are a number of people, who suffer from severe pain and who cannot give up its use even after they have been rid of their pain. As a precaution, after regular use of a pain killer, make sure you slowly reduce the dosage till you can stop completely. This will help by slowly weaning your body off the drug. Some of the most addictive painkillers are Fentanyl, Stadol, Demerol, OxyContin, Hydrocodone, MS Contin, Percocet, Lorcet


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  2. #2
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    Re: Painkillers or analgesics: Side-effects and precautions

    • Do not take painkillers without your doctor knowing if you suffer from the following:

    High blood pressure:
    A number of painkillers, especially NSAIDs are known to slow down kidney function. Kidneys are the organs that filter your blood and remove all the toxins from your body. Almost 99% of your body’s blood passes through your kidneys. Therefore a slow functioning kidney can cause an increase in blood pressure. For people already suffering from high blood pressure this can be very dangerous.

    Stomach ulcers:

    Many OTC painkillers that contain aspirin, can cause irritation in the stomach lining and aggravate ulcers. They are also known to cause severe internal bleeding in a number of cases.

    Heart Disease:
    According to doctors, patients who have either had an angioplasty or bypass surgery should be very careful while using painkillers, especially NSAIDs. They are known to increase the possibility of a blockage reoccurring since they cause more number of platelets to stick to the stent that is placed.

    Dosage of painkillers for children are different: Do not ever make the mistake of administering your painkillers to your children. It can have severe consequences. Painkillers are available in pediatric doses are are prescribed as per the weight of the child. It is best you talk to your pediatrician for the medication you should use for your child.
    While painkillers are the most convenient way to get rid of that nagging pain, there are several natural pain killers that you could try instead:


    • Cold/ hot pack: In areas like the back, ankles or knees, cold or hot packs are highly beneficial. Just take a towel and dip it in hot or cold water. Apply this to the injured area. If this is too messy for you, you could try a hot water bag or an ice pack to make the pain bearable.
    • Try some stretches: Every once in a while, you may experience pain because of stiffness in the soft tissues and muscles. Try some simple stretching exercises to give you relief.
    • Foods that heal: Try adding foods like capsicum, ginger, clove, fish oil or haldi to your diet. These foods have very high anti- inflammatory and muscle relaxing qualities, and can help relieve pain.

    With the fast paced lives most of us live, having the time to visit the doctor for minor aches and pains could be a pain in itself. But when it comes to self medication, knowledge is power. So keep these simple things in mind before you pop that next pill.


  3. #3
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    Re: Painkillers or analgesics: Side-effects and precautions

    ​Thanks for the very useful and necessary info......Viji

    sudhavaidhi and sumitra like this.
    Jayanthy





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    Re: Painkillers or analgesics: Side-effects and precautions

    Really wonderful information you have shared about this pain killers or analgesic tablets. thank you Vijigermany

    sudhavaidhi and jv_66 like this.

  5. #5
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    Re: Painkillers or analgesics: Side-effects and precautions

    Good information you have shared Viji.... thanks for sharing this useful one.......


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