Know Your Medicine: Common OTC Medicine Watch
This subject matter has been on my mind for several years now. I’m here to confess that I have taken 3-9 Ibuprofen capsules daily every day for over 20 years. I’ve taken it for menstrual cramps, back aches, neck & shoulder pain, and for any ache I may have…why…because it works. I know I’ve abused warning signs in the past simply because I haven’t followed the correct safe dosage as mentioned on the labels. But just how important is it to read and follow labels on over-the-counter (OTC) Medicines? It’s very important. According to reports, an estimated 100,000 people are hospitalized and 17,000 die every year from gastrointestinal (stomach) bleeding and liver damage due to unintentionally overdosing or overusing OTC pain medicines. It’s time we educate our family members about these warnings and perhaps it’s also time that we start keeping track of our household’s medicine taking. Keeping track can be as simple as writing it down on a piece of paper.
The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) developed the Gut Check: Know Your Medicine Campaign in hopes to educate consumers on this huge, but confined problem of overusing and misusing common OTC pain
medicines. Their main focus is to make aware that it is important to read labels and only take the recommended amount that is noted on the label. Another concern is that some medicines have the same active ingredient as another, and the public is just not aware of this or they just simply don’t know the risks involved. Two common pain medicine ingredients that are being overused and misused for pain, coughs, allergies, colds, etc are Acetaminophen and NSAID. Their names may be different, but some share the exact same ingredient.
Are you a chronic pain sufferer? Do you know your pain? Perhaps there’s something else that we could do for our pains and ache besides reaching for that bottle. Lately, especially after reading this information, I have decided instead of taken any medication for an ache, I would try to just rest first. This means to lay down and do nothing. I put my cell phone away and the TV changer down and just rest my eyes and body. It’s been working for me so far, and if it doesn’t then I’ll reach for a pain reliever.
Below are three (3) steps to take to ensure that you are taking good care of yourself and your family when taking medication.
1. Read The Labels. Simple as 1-2-3, right? Don’t exceed your medicine’s dosage usage. I can honestly say I will no longer take more Ibuprofen than what the bottle says. It’s amazing what we do after such important information is brought to our attention, isn’t it?
2. Only take one product at a time that contains the same amount of ingredient. It’s all too common for my husband to take Tylenol for his pain, then turn around and take NyQuil to help with his cold and aches. He nor I knew (before this campaign) just how dangerous that is since they both contain the ingredient acetaminophen.
3. Talk to your pharmacist about your medicines (both prescription and OTC), and their uses. I like that pharmacists are getting more involved in a patience’s medical care. I believe that has always been the case, but they are just so busy behind that counter that we the patient just don’t think to talk to them about our pain or problems. I like that when I go to pick up a prescription, I have to talk to the pharmacist first. They are also there to help with any OTC questions we may have, so don’t be afraid to ask them.
Here’s a short informative video to watch.
The AGA Campaign has been set up to encourage individuals to talk with their healthcare providers, including pharmacist about any questions they may have concerning their OTC pain reliever, including questions about dose, ingredients, and whether alternative options could be considered. So don’t be afraid to ask the busy pharmacist behind that counter a question or two! To find out more about the Gut Check Campaign visit http://gutcheck.gastro.org today!