Pain Medication: Are you using it safely?
Most of us take pain medication at some stage in our lives, and with many common painkillers such as Paracetamol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Codeine and Compound Analgesics such as Solpadol available to buy online without a prescription, anyone can self-medicate, but are we using it safely?
All medicines come with a list of side-effects, and while the majority of us will not experience any of them while taking painkillers over a short period of time, those suffering from long-term chronic back pain, joint conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and regular headaches and migraines could experience serious and potentially fatal side effects if they overdose or take over-the-counter medicines for prolonged periods.
Choosing the Right Pain Medication
Before taking any new pain medication, it is recommended that you discuss your condition with a doctor, registered pharmacist or medical professional so that they can determine your suitability for the different types of painkillers available. Some drugs should not be taken while pregnant or breastfeeding, others are not compatible with prescription medicines, and if you are suffering with any kind of liver, kidney or stomach disease, painkillers could make your condition worse, so self-medicating should be done with extreme caution – or not at all.
Pain medication is available in a variety of different forms, and what works for some people may not work for others, so before ordering your painkillers online from a reputable pharmacy, it is advisable to read up on the different types of pain medicine available:
Paracetamol: A Simple Non-Opioid Analgesic, Paracetamol is widely used to treat common complaints such as headaches and the symptoms of cold and flu.
Aspirin: Belonging to a group of medicines call NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), Aspirin provides relief from toothache, period pains and headaches.
Ibuprofen: Another NSAID, Ibuprofen is highly effective at treating muscle pain and inflammation, and it can also reduce fever.
Codeine: Often prescribed to treat moderate to severe backaches and joint pains, Codeine is a strong painkiller that should be taken in moderation. Codeine is often combined with Paracetamol to make tablets such as Solpadol, which provides immediate relief when taken correctly.
Taking Painkillers – Important Tips for Using Pain Medication Safely
While no one likes to read the small print, it is vital that you read the patient information leaflet before taking any pain medication, even if you have taken similar tablets before. Your circumstances could have changed since taking your last analgesic or NSAID, and you may be more susceptible to the side effects.
Prescription medicines, over-the-counter painkillers and even dietary supplements can interact with analgesics and NSAIDs, so take care when taking pain medication with other medicines, and if in doubt, speak to your pharmacist.
Always follow the instructions and take your pain medication as advised by your doctor. When taking Solpadol, for example, it is recommended that you take your tablet(s) before meals with water, and never exceed the recommended dose. You should never double up if you miss a dose, and it is not advisable to take analgesics for longer than necessary. Common painkillers are designed to provide short term pain relief only.
If you notice any unusual symptoms while taking Solpadol or any other pain medication, stop taking the tablets immediately and seek medical advice. Some people are sensitive to the active ingredients found in some medicines, which can cause severe allergic reactions if ignored.
Most over-the-counter painkillers are not suitable for children under the age of 12 years, and should therefore be locked away safely, out of the sight and reach of children.
Finally, always check the expiry date and dispose of any painkillers that have passed the sell-by date. While there is no real evidence to suggest that painkillers become unsafe once they have passed the expiration date, they can lose some or all of their effectiveness, and the manufacturers no longer guarantee the safety of the drug.