Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dangers of OTC Drugs

Dr. Oz published a video article, March 27, 2012, available here, discussing the most mis-used over the counter (OTC) drugs. I hope in the future he publishes something on the most dangerous OTC drugs as well as the most dangerous prescription drugs.

Multi-symptom Cold and Flu Medications. You know them by common trade names such as Dayquil, Nightquil, Dimetapp, Alkaseltzer Plus Cold and over 600+ others. The bigger dangers come in using a multi-symptom medication with multiple ingredients/chemicals when you only have one one symptom and therefore only need one chemical. Excessive ingredients can cause adverse reactions. I haven't used anything in this category in over 7 years, but if I absolutely had to, I would only one ingredient for the symptom I wanted to reduce.

Acetaminophen. Commonly known as Tylenol or various other trade names, and used as a multi-symptom general pain reliever from head aches to stomach cramps, Acetaminophen side effects can range from mild nausea, pain in the abdomen and sweating. More severe side effects can be damage to the liver and kidneys. Acetaminophen has minimal benefit to those who take it for joint pain including arthritis. I quit taking any Acetaminophen a couple years ago and now only use Aspirin and then, only in small doses.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). PPI drugs have used in treatment of many acid-peptic disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, and gastropathy induced by use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug­induced. Some of the PPI drugs you may recognize the names of are: Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium to names a few. There is thought that some people who use PPI's are susceptible to dizziness, bone density problems and motion sickness.

Antihistamines. Usually used for stuffy nose, watery eyes, and sneezing and also used by people suffering from a wide variety of allergies. Some of the common antihistamines are Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, Dimetane, Tavist and Zyrtec. Antihistamines can aggravate or possibly even lead to asthma and sinusitis.

NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). This class of drugs includes ibuprofen under the trade name Motrin, naproxen under trade name Aleve, and celecoxib - common name Celebrex, among many others. These are used to treat mild and moderate pain. Side effects can include stomach pain, ulcers and even bleeding. As with Acetaminophen I quit taking any NSAIDS a couple years ago. Although Aspirin is considered a NSAID, I believe it is much else harsh on your stomach and liver.

I cannot help but think the best solution for people dependent upon or having a robust level of use with all OTC and prescriptions drugs, designed to treat symptoms and not the cause, is to embrace a more healthy lifestyle,....maximize good foods, minimize bad foods, take quality nutritional supplements, avoid toxins and live a physically active life,...then, if you have some problems address them with a very moderate use of OTC and Prescription drugs and only then when absolutely necessary, while being aware of potential side effects.

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