7 things to know about over-the-counter analgesics

Over-the-counter analgesics are the most commonly-used U.S. non-prescription medication, according to Charles Vega's, MD, article published in Medscape.

The U.S. Pain Foundation polled 1,300 adults on OTC analgesics for pain management and found:

1. Forty-eight percent do not consider their current prescription medicine when taking OTCs.

2. Fifty-eight percent do not think about their preexisting health conditions.

3. Of those polled, 65 said they do not consider other OTCs they take when taking a new OTC prescription and 73 percent of those aged 60 and older do not take their age into account.

4. Of the aforementioned factors, 20 percent said they do not consider any of them important safety considerations.

Dr. Vega said providers need to do a better job educating patients and should tell them:

5. Patients over 60 years of age have a higher risk of gastrointestinal bleeding with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

6. Patients with the following medical conditions have a health risks with NSAIDS and acetaminophen:

  • Gastritis or stomach ulcers
  • Renal abnormalities
  • Cardiovascular risks
  • Liver disease or cirrhosis
  • Hypertension
  • Asthma

7. Patients taking anticoagulants/antiplatelet medications, corticosteroids, certain antihypertensive agents or aspirin have higher health risk when taking NSAIDs.

More articles on quality and infection control:
WHO: 4 things to know about hand hygiene
Lowering elderly patients' fall risk: 4 study insights
90%+ of healthcare leaders cite drug shortages as major concern: 4 survey findings

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