What Are the Risks Associated With Over-The-Counter Painkillers?

Read Transcript

Acetaminophen which is one of the most commonly used over-the-counter agents has risks especially towards the liver. In high doses that can affect the liver in any given time. So if you take more than 4 grams in one day, you might damage the liver. The same time someone has chronic pain and they're taking tylenol all the time then they may have an issue where even 2 grams a day can cause a problem, so it really depends.

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications have more risks associated with them, they can damage the kidneys, they can damage the stomach, or GI lining essentially just directly by damaging it, and affecting some of the lining that protects the stomach that can cause GI bleeding. The other thing that can cause sometimes for people to be more likely to form clots.

All that sounds very intimidating at first and I don't want to minimize it, but at the same time, not taking any type of agent or not doing anything that can help with the pain also has its risks. I mean not doing anything and having the chronic pain can have risks in terms of your overall quality of life, your ability to function, and your relationships with other people.