Magazine article Drug Topics

What the Patient Must Know about OTC Analgesics

Magazine article Drug Topics

What the Patient Must Know about OTC Analgesics

Article excerpt

Are consumers aware of the potential harm of taking too many of those nonprescription tablets or capsules available for pain relief? Not really, caution experts. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) estimates that 8% to 10% of new cases of chronic kidney failure each year may result from heavier long-term use of OTC analgesics.

In recognition of March as National Kidney Month, NKF issued the following tips to consumers. Pharmacists may want to keep them in mind when counseling patients on OTC analgesics.

1. Do not use OTC pain relievers for more than 10 days for pain or three days for fever without consulting a physician.

2. Avoid one-pill combinations of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine.

3. While taking the OTC pain relievers, drink six to eight glasses of fluid per day.

4. If you have heart disease, liver disease, or are over 65 years old, do not take OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen) without a physician's supervision.

5. Tell your doctor about the OTC and Rx drugs you are taking.

6. If you have a chronic pain condition such as arthritis and are taking large doses of OTC pain medication, ask your physician to test your kidney function. …

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