Many Patients Unaware of Dangers of OTC Drugs

Fighting War on Chronic Pain With OTC Drugs, Many Patients Unaware of Dangers – Pain Medicine News

Most patients who manage their pain with medication are unschooled about the risks of those medications, as well as how those risks change with dose

Nearly two-thirds of those experiencing pain used over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and one-third used prescription pain medications.

A high proportion of patients showed substantial ignorance about the relevant medications.

Nearly half of those who took pain medication during the previous four months were not familiar with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Among those who were at least somewhat familiar with NSAIDs, more than half failed to identify common NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.  

Many prescription NSAID or OTC pain medicine users (58%) acknowledged that there are risks associated with these medicines, but only 27% were aware of FDA recommendations to use the lowest effective NSAID dose for the shortest duration,” Dr. Solorio noted.

Many Americans don’t know that there is dose-related risk associated with NSAID use,” he said, adding that “over half of respondents who had used NSAIDs or acetaminophen were not familiar with low-dose options.

“NSAIDs are commonly used in my daily practice,” said David Lazar, MD, MPH, a rheumatologist at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine in Gainesville. “There is a risk of kidney disease, gastrointestinal bleeding and cardiovascular disease.

Many patients are unaware of the interactions of these medications with other prescriptions.

During a new consultation I may discover a patient taking two different NSAIDs daily such as meloxicam and ibuprofen. I explain to the patient the dangers of combining NSAIDs and the risks involved. I am not surprised by these survey results but I am concerned that there is a lack of patient education with regards to NSAIDs.”

Has your doctor ever suggested you use NSAIDs or acetaminophen/Tylenol without explaining their risks?

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