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What drugs interact with over-the-counter pain relievers?

Drug interactions occur when medications interfere with or alter the activity of one another. When choosing an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, you should read the label carefully or speak with your pharmacist to determine if one of your current medications could interact with it.

The following medications may be affected by OTC pain reliever use, or vice versa:

High Blood Pressure Medications -- People with high blood pressure may experience a pressure increase when taking NSAIDs because they interfere with medications taken to treat high blood pressure.

Steroids -- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids together may increase gastrointestinal symptoms and greatly increase the risk of ulcers.

Anticoagulants -- NSAIDs increase the risk of bleeding. Taking NSAIDs with anticoagulant medication greatly augments the blood-thinning effects and increases the risk of bleeding by as much as twelve-fold.

In addition to medications, alcohol also can interact with OTC pain relievers, increasing the risk of gastrointestinal irritation and ulcers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.