Dangerous Effects Of Painkillers On Your Health

It is a well-known fact that frequent use of painkillers may cause many health-related complications such as liver and kidney diseases. Most medicines come with their own set of side effects.

However, these side effects can be overlooked, keeping in consideration the severity of the illness. You should always take medicines when they are needed and under the supervision of a doctor.

Dangers Of Self-Medication

There are some medicines that are available without a prescription and are known as over-the-counter or OTC drugs. Most painkillers are available as OTC drugs.

Painkillers, also called analgesics, give relief from pain and inflammation. You must visit a doctor to know the cause of the pain to rule out any serious underlying disease.

When we experience pain due to some injury, fatigue or other minor cause, painkillers come in as a lifesaver. However, we must use them wisely.

Interesting Facts Regarding Drugs

We must know the type of painkillers that suit us best for the particular kind of pain. There are different types of painkillers suggested for arthritis pain, pain from toothache, and likewise for other pains.

Having said that, we must avoid taking painkillers for our day-to-day pain, as they have been proven to be very harmful for our heath. There have been many studies conducted on the ill-effects of ibuprofen that resulted in death (1000 people/year), which is a very shocking number.

We have listed certain dangerous effects that can be caused by painkillers.

Liver Damage

Painkillers, especially paracetamol, cause damage to the liver. Peroxides formed by the metabolism of paracetamol in the body can be toxic to the liver. You must limit the intake of paracetamol. Taking 8 tablets (500 mg) in a day can cause serious acute liver damages. Liver damage can also occur at lower doses in those who drink alcohol regularly or have a pre-existing liver disease condition.

Stomach Pain And Ulcers

Painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen cause irritation and damage to the inner lining of the stomach. This can cause ulcers and bleeding of pre-existing ulcers.

Aggravate Depression

Painkillers decrease the effect of drugs used to treat depression. People who have depression and take antidepressants should definitely avoid frequent use of painkillers (NSAIDs).

Kidney Failure

Painkillers, or an analgesic, such as ibuprofen and naproxen can cause kidney damage and kidney failure to those who have diabetes and high blood pressure. Also, people who already have pre-existing kidney diseases can be under high risk.


Women taking painkillers (such as NSAIDs) during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy have more risk of undergoing a miscarriage. A study has shown that painkillers interfere with the hormones during pregnancy that are important in inducing labour. Do consult your doctor before taking any painkiller, if you are planning for pregnancy or are pregnant.

Cause Bleeding

Painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen have a blood-thinning ability. This effect of aspirin is beneficial for those who have clotting issues and heart problems. However, people who are already taking blood-thinning medication, such as coumadin, etc, should avoid all painkillers (NSAIDs), as they can cause over-thinning of the blood and excessive risks of bleeding.

Gastric Irritation

One of the most common side effects of painkillers includes gastric irritation, especially when taken on an empty stomach. You may end up vomiting due to hyperacidity. People who already suffer from acidity and heartburn should take painkillers with precaution.

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Story first published: Saturday, November 21, 2015, 10:29 [IST]
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