September 9, 2015

side effectsMany of us develop aches and pains as we get older. Sometimes we ignore the pain and get on with life, but other times the pain and soreness interfere with our activities. But before simply swallowing a few pain pills from your medicine cabinet, you should know about recent FDA warnings about two popular pain relievers: ibuprofen and naproxen.

These over-the-counter pain relievers, sold under many brand names, such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve, can be quite effective. But like all medicines, prescription or over-the-counter, they should be taken with caution, especially since the FDA has confirmed that these ones have a hidden danger.

Although the FDA has long warned that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could potentially increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, the wording of this warning is being revised to reflect a more serious nature, as it’s been proven that NSAIDs, in fact, DO increase that risk. And the danger applies to even short-term use, increasing when taken over an extended period of time.

What does this mean for the average consumer who occasionally takes ibuprofen or naproxen? According to Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist with the Cleveland Clinic, “If you are someone with a low risk of heart disease, and you have back pain or arthritis pain and need these drugs to function, it’s reasonable to take them.” But the FDA’s recommendation is to take the least possible amount of the medication for the least possible amount of time.

People who should be concerned about their use of NSAIDs include those with a history of heart disease, heart attack, heart surgery, high blood pressure, or chronic pain – particularly those older than 65. The risks are estimated to generally increase when taking ibuprofen or naproxen as follows:

  • Over-the-counter dose: about 10% higher risk
  • Prescription medication low dose: about 20% higher risk
  • Prescription medication higher dose: as much as 50% higher risk

As with any medical concern, talk with your physician before starting, stopping or modifying any prescribed medication regimen.

If you or your family is concerned about medicines, Continuum’s home nursing services can help relieve that concern. Our professional nurses can set up medication schedules, provide nursing assessments, and work with you and your doctor to provide the necessary care to keep you safe at home.

Our staff members are experts in senior home care in Saint Louis and Saint Charles. You can contact the Continuum home care experts at 314-863-9912 or 636-861-3336, or you can fill out our web form to have someone call you.