Pain

What About Pain Medication

The discomfort and outright pain from a toothache can be intense.  No doubt about it.

So what about over-the-counter pain medications?  If a little is good, more must be better, right?

Pain Meds
Pain Meds

Wrong

Following package instructions is critical to avoid complications and side effects.  As most OTC pain relievers have a built in safety factor in the recommended dose, each person's body and underlying medical condition is different.  One may tolerate the maximum  recommended dose of ibuprofen, while the same dose in another may cause the kidneys to shut down and require hospitalization.

OTC Medications are not without risk.

Consider a recent study completed at Oxford revealing that patients who took maximum doses of ibuprofen (2400 mg/day) and diclofenac (150 mg/day) had a higher risk of heart attack, heart failure and death. 

Non-steroidal pain relievers (ibuprofen, aleve, naproxen) can also cause stomach irritation, bleeding and ulcers.  Patients on steroids (such as prednisone), smokers and those who consume excessive alcohol are at a much higher risk for bleeding complications.

Newer Meds On The Horizon

Researchers are working on a new class of OTC pain reliever that is much safer and have fewer risks than current options.  Naproxcinod is on the horizon and awaiting approval from the FDA.  It is felt to be safer than other anti-inflammatory medications and less likely to elevate blood pressure.

ASK Your Doctor

The best option is to contact your doctor's office for advice.  They know your unique medical history and any compounding factors that may influence the choice and safety of taking a particular pain medication.  A special caution for those with pre-existing kidney, heart, liver disease, diabetes and those taking blood thinners such as ASA, coumadin and Pradaxa (or any other blood thinning medication).

Guest Post by:  Mitchel M.D.