We have all been warned about the dangers of overusing prescription medicines, but what about over the counter medicines we use every day?
We constantly hear about how harmful regulated drugs can be such as Adderall, Xanax, and opiates. However, medicines we take on a daily basis can be just as harmful.
KX learned some of the long term side effects of common OTC medicines.
- NSAID’s- long term effects include indigestion, ulcers, and stomach and colon bleeding, and even increased risk of heart failure.
- Benadryl- your body can become dependent and you can suffer from insomnia, nausea, anxiety, and can affect mental cognition causing hallucinations.
- Nasal Sprays- can cause you to not be able to breathe without using nasal sprays long term.
- Laxatives- your body can become dependent on them, which they will no longer work, and bowels could eventually not work properly.
- Heartburn drugs- will cause problems with stomach acid, which really is only hiding the problem not treating it.
KX spoke with a pharmacist who says everyone’s symptoms can be different.
Thrifty Drug Pharmacist, Amber Shauer says, “It definitely depends on the patient and the circumstances and how severe it is. But if you are kind of self-treating even past a week or two you maybe even masking a bigger problem and you may just be treating the symptoms.”
Americans average 26 trips a year to purchase over the counter products. Compare that to only an average of 3 trips per year to go to the doctor. If we didn’t have OTC medicine roughly 27 million Americans would rather tough it out than go to the doctor.
Keep these things in mind before getting OTC medicine:
- Make sure the medicine you are taking will not interact with other medicines, supplements, foods, or drinks you take.
- Check for allergy warnings.
- If you are pregnant make sure the medicine is safe for the baby.
- If you are giving it to your children make sure you are giving the correct dosage.
- Don’t overuse over the counter medicines because it can cause dependency issues.
Some of the most common misused over the counter medicines are cough syrups that contain DMX and loperamide used for diarrhea.