Gastroenterologists' take on OTC pain medicine use & abuse — 6 AGA survey insights

A survey, performed by the American Gastroenterological Association, examined how consumers manage pain using over-the-counter medication.

The "Gut Check: Know Your Medicine" survey questioned 1,015 U.S.-based adults and 251 U.S.-based gastroenterologists.

Here are six takeaways:

1. Forty-four percent of respondents suffer from chronic pain. Of pain suffers, 66 percent experienced pain for two or more years. Approximately 93 percent of respondents reported using OTC drugs to manage pain.

2. Gastroenterologists see 90 overdose cases annually, with patients suffering from OTC complications.

3. Eighty-nine percent of gastroenterologists believe patients don't connect overdose symptoms to the OTC pain medication they take.

4. A majority of patients who experience complications from OTC pain medication were attempting to manage chronic pain or arthritis.

5. Most patients didn't consult physicians about their OTC pain medicine.

6. Gastroenterologists report patients used OTC drugs at a higher dose and for a longer duration than recommended.

Anne Larson, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at Seattle-based Washington Medicine Liver Clinic said in a release, "We are not asking our patients to give up their OTC pain medicines. Instead, we encourage safer, smarter use so they can get the relief they need to be comfortable and enjoy life."

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