Pain Management Over-The-Counter (cont.)
Dr. Lee: Bill, how does one go about choosing an OTC pain reliever?
Dr. Shiel: Different people respond differently to pain relievers. Therefore, choosing the right pain reliever can be somewhat of a trial and error process. I recommend that patients use the pain reliever that has worked for them in the past. This will increase the likelihood of effectiveness and decrease the risk of any side effects.
Dr. Lee: For a healthy adult, like myself, is it safe to use over-the-counter pain relievers for toothache or muscle pain, fever or occasional aches and pains?
Dr. Shiel: Over-the-counter pain relievers have been shown to be safe and effective for short-term relief of pain when used properly according to the label instructions. By short-term I mean no more than ten days. Anybody with persisting or severe pain ought to consult a doctor for proper evaluation and accurate diagnosis.
Dr. Lee: Any special precautions while using acetaminophen?
acetaminophen is safe and well tolerated, it can cause severe liver damage and liver failure in high (toxic) doses.
You and I have both taken care of patients with liver
failure as a result of acetaminophen overdose in suicide
attempts. Acetaminophen can also damage the kidneys when taken in high
amounts. Therefore, it is crucial that acetaminophen not be taken more
frequently or in higher quantities than recommended on the label of the bottle or container.
brought up a very important issue. Even though most of us
know that acetaminophen can cause serious liver damage in toxic doses, not many
people realize that even non-toxic doses of acetaminophen can cause liver
damage in people who regularly drink alcohol in moderate to heavy