Ibuprofen is commonly used for pain and is easily obtained. Many adults who use ibuprofen and other so-called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs over use the drug increasing risk of serious side effects. It can be pretty damaging to the internal organs and may not be discovered until it is pretty serious or sometimes fatal.
About 15% of adults taking ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or other NSAIDs like aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), meloxicam (Mobic) and diclofenac (Voltaren) exceeded the maximum recommended daily dose for these drugs, the study found.
When patients some to see me for the first time and are in serious pain, they often times are taking ibuprofen several times a day to help them get through the day.
“NSAIDs are among the most commonly used medicines in the US and worldwide,” said lead study author Dr. David Kaufman of Boston University.
“These drugs can have serious side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding, infertility and heart attacks and are often taken without notice to doctors because most are easily available over-the-counter. Anyone buying over the counter drugs are told what dosage to take on the label but many choose their own dosage and are unaware of the dosing limits and far exceed what should be taken.
In a Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety study, 1,326 people who reported taking ibuprofen in the previous month completed online medication diaries every day for one week.
All of the participants took ibuprofen during the diary week and 87 percent of them only used over-the-counter, or nonprescription, versions.
Overall, 55 percent of participants took ibuprofen at least three days during the week and 16 percent took it every day.
In addition to ibuprofen, 37 percent of the participants reported taking at least one other NSAID during the week, most often aspirin or naproxen. Less than half of them recognized that all of the products they were taking were NSAIDs. So they are doubling their dosage.
One thing to keep in mind is that the study only focused on recent and current ibuprofen users, which may not reflect what doses might be typical for sporadic or chronic users.
“I believe that the message sent to the consumer when these drugs are widely available in convenience stores and gas stations is that these drugs are safe and you can use them safely for pain relief — thus no need for reading the label,” Gislason, said by email.
Even when people do read the label, they may still ignore it because there is rarely any advertising or news articles showing damage from overuse.
“If the recommended dosage does not give sufficient pain relief, it is easier to take more pills than seeking professional advice from a healthcare person or doctor,” Gislason added.
While doctors may prescribe NSAIDs for some muscle and joint disorders and certain other health problems, these drugs aren’t appropriate for many of the reasons that patients may buy them at the drugstore, said Dr. Liffert Vogt of the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
“For occasional use, acetaminophen (again in the right dose) is a much safer option and very efficacious as a painkiller,” Vogt added. “But we know that many people use NSAIDs for indications other than pain, such as flu, allergies, fever – and there is no medical base that indicates that NSAIDs or acetaminophen are of any use under these circumstances.”
“Drugs can be dangerous. They interact with every enzyme, cell in your body. I don’t think people think of this when they are taking a pill or medication, they just want the symptom to go away but forget about the affect on the rest of the body. Your organs are stressed and strained from ingesting something that is not natural to the system.” – Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP
With all of this information, why not try something natural that can alleviate pain and keep the rest of you body healthy? Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Acupuncture and Massage Therapy can help a great many physical problems and keep them at bay. These are natural approaches that have been working for hundreds of years. Most chiropractors are well versed in nutrition, exercise, holistic supplements and healthy lifestyle. This will lead to a healthier you without the use of drugs.
Pharmaceuticals if used safely can help in emergency situations and extreme pain but keep in mind there is no substitute for the natural healing powers that your body has. Taking care of yourself takes time and effort. It is a process just like losing weight, exercise and diet. We can help guide you through this process.