Understanding the Risks of Pain Relievers

Analgesics, commonly referred to as pain relievers or painkillers, are the most highly consumed drugs in comparison to all other pharmaceuticals. As implied, these products contain active ingredients which act in various ways on the nervous system, providing relief from pain. Analgesics are primarily taken orally, but there are some products which are suited for injection or rectal use. Generally, these drugs are sold over the counter, with the exception of regulated drugs such as opioids.painkillers_0 Therefore, the risk of misuse and abuse of pain relievers is high. Here are the critical risks of analgesics that you should be aware of.

Adverse reactions

Almost all pharmaceutical products have adverse side effects, including pain relievers. The exact reactions will depend on the specific drug, but there are some common ones that are associated with popular drugs. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin will often cause stomach upset, constipation, nausea and acid reflux. They might also cause drowsiness, ringing in the ears and even rashes. Opioid analgesics are stronger, so the adverse reactions can range from dizziness and drowsiness to vomiting, nausea and constipation.

Drug interactions

You should not use pain relievers in combination with other drugs before consulting your doctor or pharmacists. An adverse interaction means that one of the medications might not work as expected, or its effectiveness will be reduced. Also, the combination can increase the risk of serious side effects or even result in drug toxicity. For example, if you are taking an anti-coagulant such as warfarin and start taking NSAIDs or acetaminophen, the warfarin levels in your blood will be seriously increased. Consequently, the risk of drug toxicity will be significantly high.


Analgesics are normally safe, but an overdose or intoxication can cause serious short-term and long-term problems. Therefore, you should be careful in managing your dosage. Acetaminophen is the most commonly used ingredient in analgesics. Overdoses and general long-term abuse of this drug is associated with serious liver damage. You should be particularly careful if you are considered at risk with regard to liver disease or if you consume alcohol drinks while on the medication. NSAIDs should never be taken for prolonged periods of time, and the dosage must be no higher than recommended. Abuse will result in ulcers and stomach bleeding and can also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Finally, you should avoid general abuse of pain relievers. In simple terms, do not take analgesics for recreational purposes and avoid overuse. If the pain symptoms are consistent even after the recommended dose, consult your doctor for a thorough examination.