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Nov 17, 2011

Healthy Living pops some pills

We keep them at home, at the office, in first aid kits, and even carry them on our person should we need to pull them out for those unwelcome aches. But before you reach for those pills for pain relief, be sure you know what you’re taking. Healthy Living has sound advice for those over the counter pills.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

The first line of defense in treating pain is most often administered at home. Our handy over-the-counter painkillers are used to tackle headaches, toothaches, and just about any ache or pain in your body. But no matter how easy it is to buy, they’re still drugs and can harm your body if misused. To find out more about how to choose and use your painkiller, we sought the advice of Pharmacist Orissa Molina.

Orissa Molina, Pharmacist

Orissa Molina

“Pain is a very subjective thing. Everyone have different thresholds of pain which means that they can to treat, different levels of pain and that is one the things that we use to decide what pain relieve they will buy. Slight headache, a Tylenol would work, a sport injury  or  sore throat or ear ache, then we’d go the Advil’s which are both for pain and swelling. So it all depends on what’s affecting the person at that time.”

When purchasing a painkiller, It’s not about who has the better known brand; it’s about knowing what you want your pain reliever to do. There are in fact tow more common types of over-the counter painkillers.

Orissa Molina

“Two groups of pain killers – No steroidal Anti-inflammatories which are the Advil’s the Aleve that we are use to and then we have acetaminophen which the brand name of that is Tylenol.  Tylenol however, why it’s not a part of the other group is that it doesn’t have the anti-inflammatory characteristic. Which means it will not take down swelling. The other group deal with both pain and swelling and also fever. So it offers a wider area in terms of pain and fever and inflammation.”

As a result of the ease of access in buying these drugs, they are very often misused. Molina speaks of the potential side effects of not using your painkiller according to directions.

Orissa Molina

“If you use it or abuse it I should say in terms of taking longer than you’re supposed to or taking higher doses than you’re supposed to then you can have serious problems.  In terms of the Tylenols and I want to use that name cause everybody is familiar with that name, using for prolong period of time or higher doses than is recommended can cause severe liver damage, serious liver damage and you don’t want that because its metabolized through the liver.  In terms of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like I mentioned earlier the Advil and Aleve, those can cause ulcers and intestinal bleeding and get your stomach upset and those effects are irreversible. What’s causing it.”

In addition to taking the recommended dosage, meds like Advil & Aleve should be taken with food and should never be taken with alcohol.

Orissa Molina

“None of them should be taken with alcohol, if you should read your little package, even if you talk to your pharmacist or doctor they will tell you that do not mix them with alcohol in itself can cause some intestinal bleeding, and then if you combine with these medication that can do that as well you’re having double trouble. Definitely don’t want to mix alcohol with any pain reliever at all.”

Mixing with other medications is not advised either, at least not without checking in with your doctor or pharmacist. Also remember to check the expiration date on your meds. The best practice is to read the label and follow accordingly.

Orissa Molina

“Read your labels carefully. Do not take pain relievers for longer than you’re suppose to or if pain persist for longer than ten days you have to consult with your doctor because there might be an underlying problem and can’t say this enough. Talk to your pharmacist.”

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