Pain Killers – The OTC Medication Conundrum – Oh What A Pain
Pain Killers and OTC Medications, we all take them, right?I sure do! As someone with a chronic illness, that’s just a 2 week supply in that photo up there. That’s a ton of pills. 4 of those bottles are pain killers! This has been my daily cocktail since 1/95. I was a passenger in a car and lost a fight with a windshield after said car slammed head on into oncoming traffic. I received a spinal cord injury. Among a host of other big words that basically equate to ‘broken’ and ‘painful’. I wrote in detail about that over. here. Does This Wheelchair Make My Butt Look Fat? Go ahead, read it. I’ll wait. Prior to that were the migraines. Oh My Oh My Mylanta! Those are some killers, huh? I would quite literally grab handfuls of pain killers and swallow them like candy. (Tic Tacs?) Then when we toss in those Gawd-Awful Kidney Stones (remember that fun post??) you can see that I’m quite the pill popper these days. It’s not a bad thing, right? I mean, they are all prescribed and OTC pain killers. Surly that’s totally legit and not harmful. Right? Right??!!
Pain Killers – The OTC Medication Conundrum
But when does taking pain killers for so many reasons on such a regular basis become bad? Wrong? Harmful even? Well, one day in January this year I waltzed into (rolled actually, I roll on my wheels) the pharmacy to grab my monthly refills as I’d been doing for years. Same meds, same pharmacy, nothing out of the ordinary. Imagine my surprise when they said they could no longer refill 1 of them! The acetaminophen level included in with the narcotics was now ‘too high’ to be deemed ‘safe’. What the what?? The acetaminophen is too much?? But that’s just … Tylenol®. Aren’t the actual narcotics what’s typically thought of as the bad news buzz word? Why the fuss? I was seriously confused. They explained that pain killers can be found in more that 500 prescription and OTC medications. Yep, like our good friend Tylenol®, cold and flu meds (IE Nyquil®) and also in prescription medications like Percocet®, Vicodin® and the like. The max dose of acetaminophen is 4,000 mg a day. So my prescribed meds alone already exceeded that. Add to it all the OTC medications I was also taking, Rut Roh….
Too Many Pain Killers – What A Pain
Ok, now see this photo made a light bulb go off in my head!! I have a peptic ulcer!! Dr’s have told me it’s caused by everything from stress to too many spicy foods I make for my recipes. Could be, I suppose. Or, what if it’s actually from all those pain killers and the maxed out acetaminophen levels? I did some reading up on it over at the AGA Gut Check Campaign Website and learned quite a bit of things that had never occurred to me as well. Did you know every year there are 26,000 hospitalizations and 458 deaths from acetaminophen-related overdoses. Over dose from common everyday OTC pain killers! Let’s not forget all the GI bleeds (like mine) and even liver damage from overdosing and taking too many over a prolonged time. Pain killers cause an estimated 17,000 deaths every year from this. I wasn’t aware of the damage I was doing to my liver! Like I need that on top of everything else I have going on. It’s irreversible damage. Meaning, just because you stop taking too much, or any for that matter, the damage is done my friends. It’s compared to alcohol abuse type damage! I HAD NO CLUE!
Ok, so what have we learned? We all have our issues and take pain meds, totally cool. But, pain killers and OTC medications should be taken seriously and not written off as ‘safe’ simply because you don’t need a prescription. Read your labels! If you’re taking more than 1 type of medication, and they both contain acetaminophen and/or NSAIDS, be sure you’re not going over the recommended daily dosage. Better yet, try to find 1 medication for that fever and 1 strictly for that nagging cough that doesn’t have an added pain med component.
Do me a favor, yes? Check out the Gut Check website and be sure you’re treating that pain without causing yourself a whole ‘nutter kind of pain! Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Just a little PSA from me to you. Gotta keep me and my peeps happy and healthy!
Do you have the pain killers conundrum going on? Did you even think to check?