Monday, May 14, 2012


To relieve discomfort, mankind has relied on medications and herbs for thousands of years.  At the present time we most commonly rely on medications in four classes for pain relief: acetaminophen, NSAIDs, steroids, and narcotics.  The potency of these medications follows in about the same order, with Tylenol (acetaminophen) being the least and narcotics being the most powerful.  The side effect profile also follows in about the same order, fewest for Tylenol and most for narcotics.  An overdose of Tylenol can damage or destroy your liver.  NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn and about fifty other drugs.  The most common side effects include stomach upset: gastritis and ulcers, decreased kidney function, and increased blood pressure.  As such they should be used sparingly by diabetics and people with stomach issues.  Steroids can cause the same issues with greater severity.  Narcotics cause constipation and sedation and can be addictive.  Make sure you understand what your doctor is trying to accomplish with the medications he gives you.  If you are medicating yourself, remember that all medications have side effects.  Follow the directions carefully.  Don't hurt yourself while trying to help yourself.

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