Don't keep pills in the bathroom; AFTER IBUPROFEN HEART WARNING; ..and other essential dos & don'ts for over-the-counter medication.
SORTING out medication can be a major headache.
We now learn that common anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can raise the risk of having a heart attack.
Here, two experts reveal their tips for staying safe with over-the-counter pain relief.
Do: Keep medicines out of the bathroom cabinet
Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP and clinical director of patient.co.uk, says: "Medicines should be stored in a cool, dry place, not the bathroom cabinet, which can be hot and humid, making them less effective before the expiration dates."
Do: Take paracetamol and ibuprofen for short term pain relief
Dr Anna Nott, a GP, says: "If you are taking over-the-counter pain relief for longer than a week, get advice from your GP, who may suggest a better action plan, such physiotherapy."
Don't: Give ibuprofen to children with chickenpox
Dr Jarvis says: "If your child has chickenpox, ibuprofen might raise the risk of severe skin infections by eating away at the soft tissue. We don't recommend it for adults with chickenpox either."
Do: Take ibuprofen with caution if you suffer from asthma
Dr Nott says: "Ibuprofen can worsen asthma and trigger asthma attacks, which can be fatal. Take paracetamol instead."
Do: Read the label before taking over-the-counter medicines
Dr Jarvis says: "People often don't know cold and flu remedies contain paracetamol, or that co-codamol has paracetamol as well as codeine. Taking these medicines as well as the full dose of paracetamol puts you at risk of an overdose. Never take more than a gram of paracetamol as an adult four times a day from any source."
Do: Be cautious taking ibuprofen if you have kidney problems
Dr Jarvis says: "We are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact tablets like anti-inflammatories have on your kidneys, especially as you get older.
"If you have kidney problems, be aware it can in some cases cause deterioration and even kidney failure. It's possible to have low-functioning kidneys without knowing it, especially if you are over 65. The higher the dose and the worse the kidney function is, the more likely it is to happen."
Don't: Take aspirin if you are a haemophiliac or are taking blood thinning drugs
Dr Jarvis says: "Aspirin thins the blood, so if you are on anticoagulant drugs, such as warfarin, or you suffer from haemophilia, this will increase your risk of bleeding."
Don't: Take ibuprofen if you are on aspirin
Dr Nott says: "Aspirin and ibuprofen can both cause thinning of the protective barrier in the stomach. Taken together they raise the risk of bleeding from the gut."
Don't: Share medicines
Dr Jarvis says: "Doctors prescribe medicines for individuals. What may be suitable for you may not be for someone else."
Do: Be wary of taking anti-inflammatory drugs if you have stomach ulcers
Dr Jarvis says: "If you are taking anti-inflammatory drugs for any length of time, you should take an acid suppressing medicine to protect your stomach lining. Anti-inflammatories are irritants to the stomach lining and can burn holes in it. Always talk to your GP."
Don't: Take ibuprofen if pregnant, unless advised by your doctor
Dr Nott says: "It is best to avoid ibuprofen in the first 30 weeks of pregnancy as it may raise the risk of complications, including miscarriage. It should not be used when 30 or more weeks pregnant as it is associated with an increased risk of heart problem in babies and a reduced amount of amniotic fluid. If pain relief is required, it is advisable to use paracetamol."
Do: Take any prescribed aspirin if you have suffered a heart attack
Dr Jarvis says: "If you have been prescribed aspirin regularly at low dose, do not stop taking it without checking. Aspirin can hugely lower the risk of future heart attacks."
Do: Take ibuprofen if you need pain relief fast
Dr Jarvis says: "Ibuprofen works faster than paracetamol, but if you are taking paracetamol or ibuprofen as a one-off, take it without food as it will work quicker.
Do: Check that over-the-counter remedies don't interfere with other medication
Dr Jarvis says: "Check the label or with your pharmacist to see medication doesn't interfere with any others you are on. Don't just assume because they are over-the-counter they won't. St John's Wort and some herbal remedies interfere with warfarin."
Do: Try out painkiller gels
Dr Jarvis says: "Gels are not always as effective as tablets, but can be effective pain relief. You will have a lower dose in your system and cut the risk of side effects."
Don't: Take ibuprofen if you are on certain antidepressants
Dr Nott says: "Some antidepressants can interact with ibuprofen, causing bleeding from the stomach lining."
DON'T Use ibuprofen if asthmatic
Read all ingredients DO
Take ibuprofen if you are pregnant DON'T
Store medicine in the bathroom DON'T
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||May 11, 2017|
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