Are you overusing pain medication? Hint: it’s likely

Are you overusing pain medication? Hint: it’s likely

Common over-the-counter medications such as Advil and Aleve often help relieve aches and pains, but taking too much can have dangerous consequences.

These medications, among others, are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and, according to a new study, 15 percent of adult ibuprofen users exceed the maximum recommended dose of ibuprofen or other NSAIDs in a one-week period.

“Potential consequences of taking too many NSAIDs can include GI symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting,” says Dr. Gina Schueneman, a family medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “It can also cause kidney damage, and these risks apply to both adults and kids.”

Researchers found people were overusing the medications by taking more than recommended in one dose, not allowing for sufficient time between doses and using multiple medications at once.

“See your doctor if you need to take NSAIDs consistently – more than just as needed – for any reason,” says Dr. Schueneman. “In place of NSAIDs, there are also many over-the-counter creams and patches that can be used to treat pain.”

When taking any medication, be sure to look closely at and adhere to the label recommendations. And, if you’re ever unsure how much over-the-counter medication to take, please contact your physician.

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Comments

24 Comments

  1. Doctors won’t help you. Cannot prescribe nothing stronger government might slap them or afraid of lawsuits. This world is over stayed

    • The elected officials who run our country are so worried about opioid abuse, they cant even keep
      The government from shutting down.
      Im 63. I’ve been taking chronic pain meds for over
      20 years, we all hear about the rising cost of medical care. But if the doctors are so afraid of big brother and are continuing to stop helping with chronic pain meds…i say why did you go to med school at ALL?? STOP PAYING THE COWARDS.MY PAIN IS REAL!!!!

  2. No. I can read the label. My advice, never take the max.

  3. I agree with Audrey. Everyone is running afraid of the law. Doctors will not help and in some states cannot prescribe certain medications. What happened to the doctor/patient relationship? Government has no place in this. In very short order we are going to see a very large number of people with bleeding ulcers and permanent kidney damage, it will become an epidemic. Secondly we will see epic proportions of chronic pain patients committing suicide because they cannot get proper pain relief. Mark my words, this will occur in very short order. Yes, this world is overstayed!

  4. Doctor’s are failing themselves and their patients! Do no harm? It’s exactly what you’re doing to patients. Suicides are sky high and will increase. Drug companies paid doctor’s for decades to prescribe drugs and abused this for profit $$. Legitimate patients didn’t bribe doctor’s the drug companies did and overwhelmed cities with opioids. Giving non pain patients drugs. Those who faked pain. Now those of us who had multiple surger living in horrific pain Myst suffer. Why aren’t CEO of drug companies in prison? Oh more bribes to politicians!!! The system is rigged for corporate and wealthy. Screw everyone else. Drug companies made billions in profits. Ilegal pharmacies used by then too. Flooding markets! What do cancer patients do now? Spine patients? Legitimate chronic pain? You worthless profiteers! Poor USA

    • I’m a spine patient! I’m getting ready for surgery this month! I had 3 options,pain management ,injections (Tried this already and ended up
      in the ER)not happening again.,and surgery,! The surgeon said, this will be my last one, this will make 3! I have no more room for surgeries! What are we supposed to do?? Everything is fused with plates and screws! I’m in pain constantly with nothing to relieve me. This is not right!!

    • Yes, as a result of 27 years of vigorous exercise,seizures.and eating disorders,I have multiple fractures,bulging discs,scoliosis,and more in my thoracic spine,in need of knee replacement. After having degrees in psychology and hoping to have a career free if anything addictive,after 20 years if responsibly using my medication, and now suffering unimaginably. Cannot take any said or Tylenol from Barrera esophagus from the bulimia and have almost shot my self about three times in the past year. I know where to shoot. I love life i love my family i love humanity abd respect my drs. But when you’re stigmatized abd unable to get your medication to function. I’ve done very thing to not have to have a controlled substance but the one I do. At 39 I’m looking at losing everything life. Love. What I stand for. Because if pain. Big Pharos created it and now the honest people with real chronic pain that stil suffer but these meds just Yelp life functional,cannot function. Unfortunately no drug.no high,nothing is needed but my basic Med to relieve my pain I don’t want to die but this is horrible suffering. Go big pharmacy go government. Lil people legally. Make money but trust me if i lose my life and others lose more because of not Distincting between addicts and chronic pain patients,you will pay. People will come against you. This is worst than the fake billions in statins and so called anti depressants causing suicides and heart attacks anyway. If something isn’t done 5tines the lives lost to addiction will he lost of good faithful people that suffer through life.

  5. Nanette Y Mitchell February 13, 2018 at 4:00 pm · Reply

    I suffer every day with pain and can’t get a doctor to help me. I’m 63 and have had the tests done to prove that I metabolize narcotics at a faster rate. I live in Virginia, Fredericksburg. If anyone out there knows of a doctor to help me, I would love to hear from you. Thank you.

    • Bernadette Parson February 13, 2018 at 9:27 pm · Reply

      Im so sorry babe! If your ever in the Michigan area.. contact me…u have a caring, wonderful pain doctor and clinic…they’ll help!!

  6. The people dictating to doctors what they can prescribe are NOT doctors themselves. When patients start abusing their medications their families should inform their doctors and not wait till the patient overdose before anything is said. Then the familis blame the doctors and sue them. Every prescription I have ever had for pain says, “Take x number of tablets every x numbers of hours AS NEEDED FOR PAIN” not “Take x number of pills every x number of hours by God or I’ll kick your ass”! These families know when their family members are abusing their meds and the families are the ones that should be held responsible for not saying anything. Us that need the meds and take them as needed are the ones suffering while the families of patients that have OD and died are getting rich and causing us to suffer, along with the judicial MD’s, hah, DEA, FDA, Jeffrey Sessions and even Trump. They’re jailing the doctors and pulling our meds. They should have to feel the constant pain we live with!

  7. Over prescribing? I am going on my forth surgery in less tha 3 yrs. This not a joke. People that truly need the pain medications because of chronic conditions and surgeries are not being taken care of.
    The surgeons are cutting your skin and muscles, carving your bones and messing with your spine. Do you think that we truly need the type of medication that will help us get through the day or night.we can’t sleep, are in pain all day and night. My pain is 24/7. It is cruel and inhumane treatment to deny patients the medication we really need. To the law makers lets cut you from head to toe and see how you fare out.
    I not an abuser, I don’t sell them i am just trying to get by day by day. Yet you deny the meds I need to have some kind of quality of life. Hope you never get to this point , if you do I’ll be glad to check on you to see how you are feeling!

  8. Doctors do not realize it yet. They are working their self out of a job. If they can’t help us chronic pain patients. And they want to tell us exercise eat right stop smoking don’t drink. Do we really need a doctor to tell us that we need doctors to prescribe medication if they’re not going to do it they are not needed there will be less doctor. They are trying to get a rid of all the old doctor put new ones in with new minds. A new book and regulations to go by.

  9. I agree with the suicide comments we are going to see suicide be the next epidemic the people who overused and sold the pain pills can’t be the ones who had chronic pain or they would never have sold them, because they would not be able to deal with the pain. I have multiple compression fractures in my spine and an imbalance issue so I fall and break bones a lot. Last fall I fractured x4 vertebrae and only received x10 pills. So thank you to all the drug companies and people that screwed the rest of us! I agree they should be in jail, but don’t worry everyday the good people who need help will continue everyday to serve their sentence while they live free.

  10. I go through a bottle of ibuprofen every two weeks,I was being seen at a pain clinic for my fibromyalgia,my back has bulging discs in my back and arthritis in my hands.so after I

  11. Michael Philipone February 13, 2018 at 8:04 pm · Reply

    Five spinal fusions four total shoulder replacements and a dozen other Orthopedic surgeries and I can’t pain meds anymore. I’ve passed three evaluations from major east cost medical centers that I am a very low risk to addiction to pain meds.
    One day I’ll be a stat when enough is enough.

  12. Lol contact your doctor to ask him if you’re taking too much of the over the counter medication. Are you kidding me? Please pour doctors have been put under scrutiny by the government. You’re lucky if the doctor even looks at you when you go in for a physical or any other problem. Everything has to be electronic. And that HIPA you signed, there’s a small box on the bottom that says that your information will go to the government. I think I signed that under duress in order to see my doctor. What a joke this government’s be coming.

  13. I’m 64 and have been in constant pain due to a serious old thigh muscle injury when I was thirty. Now much older it has come back to haunt me in constant limping pain. Doctors here in nyc won’t even look at the deep dent in my upper right thigh they don’t even listen to me when I try to tell them I need something for this horrific pain. All they see all together because I’m on Medicare is all the money they could get if I had surgery to replace a hip that isn’t even bothering me. I’ve cried and begged for a cortisone shot into my muscle but they turn me down and watch me limp away in pain hoping I will give up and go under their knives for the money they would get if they put me through surgery. I call this ‘dying in america’. There is no more patient/Doctor relationship. I wish I could live in America where there was a docto/patient relationship. If there ever was I missed that Boat! I quess if you want a real honest doctor these days you have to settle for re-runs of Dr. Marcus Welby M.D.

  14. I am one that def. takes IBU several times a day, everyday! Such a Shame. I live in Tampa FL, and everyday you hear something about the opioid crisis.. I have very bad chronic back issues and other chronic pain, and cant get proper treatment since all this epidemic is going on, I’m so sick of having to deal with this pain, I’m with Nanette, if anyone knows any good doctors in Tampa area let me know! Thanks!

  15. I don’t agree with some of the opoids being used for pain relief. Just figure the levels of pain if one person has no pain ,there is a person on the other side of the spectrum that has a higher !level of pain. No doctors ever try to evaluate or study this reality.. Old people in latter days just went to bed as bad was too bad to move barely to exist. But it is true Bad for grandmas and grandpa and other old folks, praying to die so the pain would stop, but too coward to die… It still holds true.. No hope …Note when you are poor, you stretch your pills, or you can’t keep on the stirit schedule to benefit the pain being kept away every eight hours, especially if you sleep, and have to wake to take the medicine.
    By that note the pain sets back in before the medicine takes effect. Go figure, !!!

  16. NO! Are you kidding me the GOVERNMENT has taken over our doctors on this front and the only thing you can get after having major surgery is an aspirin. So, if you need surgery plan on SUFFERING!! I have CHRONIC pain and I SUFFER SO MUCH NOW MY BLOOD PRESSURE AND HEART RATE IS SKY HIGH AND NO DOCTOR CAN DO ANYTHING THANKS TO THE GOVERNMENT BEING OUR DOCTORS NOW!! I WANT TO NOW BLOW MY BRAIN OUT i HURT SO BAD, BUT I am MEDICARE AND THEY WILL NOT CARE!! THEY WILL BE HAPPY WHEN I DIE AND AT THIS AMOUNT OF SUFFERING SO WILL I. JESUS TAKE ME HOME!!

  17. No our GOVERNMENT has failed us as US citizens. It is written in the constitution about inhuman treatment. Not allowing doctors to treat pain or treatment dictated by the GOVERNMENT is against the law. WE are the fool’s for accepting this type of dictatorship, instead of standing together and demanding our paid representatives stand up for what is right for all, we shall all suffer for our own stupidity.

  18. I have been on pain pills for years…trusting my doctors help and now I am so scared I had to lie and go to a clinic to get suboxone. I am scared to death… I hate this medication but it’s better than living scared of dea walking into the office and shutting it down… And then I am out out meds completely… Drs. r getting popped left and right. I am dependant on my medicine not addicted…. I have ran short on my meds due to pain being worse some days more than others, but I made do until my next appointment! What do I do now… I am soo scared I am stuck between a rock n a hard place! It’s not fair to play with people’s lives like this.

  19. Jonathan Spatafore February 14, 2018 at 1:25 am · Reply

    Bcus these things do not work

  20. Too many people think that if a little is good, more is better. Follow the instructions on over the counter meds and supplements. Just the same as prescription directions. I live with pain from MS and fibromyalgia. It’s chronic and it’s serious pain. I’m under the care of a pain management doctor and I don’t expect to be pain free. The goal is manageable discomfort. I’ve also taken responsibility for changing my lifestyle. I’ve adopted a whole foods, plant based diet to lower inflammation, I’ve reduced stress, and I do exercise that I can tolerate. There’s plenty of blame to go around when it comes to medication overuse, over prescribing , and abuse. Starting with the people who are taking more pills than prescribed, whether to get high or not.

About the Author

Brittany Hunter
Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. She has a degree in Journalism from Ohio University and experience in communications, marketing and public strategies. She loves going to concerts, reading and exploring the city.