Prescription free pain medications and the risk they entail

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Pharmacy shelves hold a wide range of prescription and non-prescription drugs, that sometimes it is difficult to choose one of them. Prescription free drugs against pain can be classified into two main categories: acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Acetaminophen is available in the drugs market and is known as paracetamol. You will also find other various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin and ketoprofen.

You will need a prescription to buy most of opioids, but one of the opioid analgesics, called codeine, can be found in some medicines obtained without prescription.

Codeine is found in many of cough syrup mixture and in combination with acetaminophen, in painkillers for pain. Codeine can give feelings of drowsiness, so be careful when using medications that contain this component.


1. Overview
2. Prescription free pain medication
3. Risks of prescription free medicines
4. Risks associated with taking prescription free drugs

Prescription free pain medication

Acetaminophen and NSAIDs are together the best treatments for many types of pain and fever. These types include swelling in the neck, pain in your lower back pain, postoperative pain caused by colds, flu and sinusitis.

Acetaminophen reduces fever and relieves pain by acting on that part of the brain that controls feelings of pain and regulate body temperature. These substances play a role in regulating body temperature, but can but irritate nerve endings, causing pain.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are particularly indicated for the pain relief caused by swelling and inflammation, such as menstrual cramps and muscle inflammation. Acetaminophen does not help with inflammation, but successfully treats headaches and arthritis pain.

Risks of prescription free medicines

Most people do not consider this type of medicine as a potential risk because they need no prescription to buy them.

In most cases they are even safe when used for the purpose for which they were designed, but may involve risks, especially when you do not read and consider what is written in the leaflet.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause stomach bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract in older people and others. This bleeding can occur even when administered in adequate doses. Children and teenagers under 18 should never use aspirin to prevent disease called Reye’s syndrome.

Another serious problem caused by using prescription free drugs occurs when large amounts are ingested in a single dose because it can affect your health. If, frequently, use too much acetaminophen may develop serious or fatal disease in the liver.

Acetaminophen is the main factor of liver disease worldwide. Overdose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause kidney disease, dysfunction and bleeding in the stomach. Painkillers may react adversely combined with other drugs, in particular those used for blood fluidity.

Some prescription free medicines can aggravate certain medical conditions. So the doctor know which drugs are safe to use when you have a condition.

Alcohol is a concern when taken with these kinds of drugs, especially those containing acetaminophen. Using acetaminophen while consuming alcohol, can lead to serious liver diseases and disorders. Mixture of alcohol and opioids can cause respiratory troubles and even death.

Take care especially when given drugs which do not require prescription to children. Use only special device to measure a dose. You should never, never give your child more than the recommended dose. Check also what other drugs are already used in the children’s treatment of diseases in order to not risk for double doses.

Painkillers can do wonders, allowing many people suffering from certain diseases such as arthritis, to continue normal rhythm of life. However, all prescription and non-prescription painkillers have a potential risk, especially when administered long term to treat chronic pain.

Risks associated with taking prescription free drugs

Therefore, the following inconveniences can be present in people taking prescription free drugs for at least several times a week:

- Cardiovascular risk. Recent studies include NSAIDs except aspirin and naproxen, in the risk factors class of stroke, especially in people already suffering from a cardiovascular disease or susceptible to such diseases.

- Blood Pressure. All medicines obtained without a prescription, including acetaminophen, may increase blood pressure, therefore increasing the risk that a person can suffer a heart attack or a stroke.

- Gastrointestinal bleeding. NSAIDs can cause damage that can lead to stomach bleeding and ulcers – one negative side effect of such drugs.

- Liver diseases. Acetaminophen, the most widely used pain reliever without a prescription, does not cause gastrointestinal bleeding, but if it is used excessive or in long term treatment can cause severe damage to the liver.

Do not take more than 4g of such substance daily, regardless of origin. Alcohol increases the risk of liver disease. Alcoholics and those already suffering from liver disease, should avoid or limit consumption of acetaminophen.



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