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Dangerous Drugs That Many Docs Consider Safe

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By    |   Sunday, 13 Aug 2017 06:59 PM

Americans’ medicine cabinets are typically filled with painkillers, allergy medications, sleep aids, and cold remedies — many of them purchased over the counter. But certain medications, such as pain relievers containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can be deadly.

A recent survey showed that nearly half of the 175 million adults who take OTC pain relievers admit to exceeding the recommended dosage, and few are aware of the potential risks.

“We have been lulled into thinking that all OTC drugs are safe,” Cheryl Myers, R.N., who has published several articles on drug safety, tells Newsmax Health. “For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are responsible for over 16,500 deaths and 103,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States.

“These drugs include Advil, Aleve, and Motrin. Acetaminophen, which is commonly found in Tylenol and in over 600 prescription and OTC drugs, is the number one cause of acute liver failure in this country.”

NSAIDs work by inhibiting certain pathways in the body that can cause pain and inflammation. This mechanism can create many dangerous side effects, say Myers.

“When you block what we call the COX-1 pathway you can get gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers,” she explains. “When you block the COX-2 pathway, you run the risk of increased blood pressure and heart attack. In fact, frequent ibuprofen use doubles and triples the risk of heart attack and stroke.”

A recent Harvard Medical School study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that the frequent use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be an important factor in hearing loss. In the study, women who took the pain relievers at least twice a week were more likely to experience hearing loss and more frequent usage increased the risk up to 24 percent.

Myers recommends taking 500 milligrams of curcumin as a pain reliever instead.

“Our research has found that the best form of curcumin to take for pain relief and to reduce the symptoms of arthritis is called BCM-95. In head on scientific studies, curcumin worked as effectively as NSIADs to reduce pain, and the study subjects continued to enjoy relief without suffering the adverse side effects of the OTC drugs.”

Painkillers aren’t the only problem.

Another class of medicines — anticholinergic drugs — is common, even though some can pose risks. The list includes medications for multiple conditions including allergies, bladder problems, sleep issues and the common cold.

Some examples of drugs with anticholinergic properties are Benadryl, Librium, Lasix, Zantac, Tagamet, Clozaril, Ditropan and Bonine for motion sickness.

Diphenhydramine, another example, is everywhere — in Advil PM, Aleve PM, Tylenol PM, Nytol, Simply Sleep, Excedrin PM and a slew of other medications.

Such drugs interfere with the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which plays an essential role in muscle function and keeping the central nervous system healthy.

“Taking anticholinergic drugs is particularly bad for older adults,” noted Myers. “Studies show that using these drugs daily for one year increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 19 percent and a three to seven year usage bumped the risk to 54 percent.

“The drugs also reduced functional ability in older adults — such as dressing and bathing — by 30 percent. “

A study in the journal JAMA Neurology in 2016 noted that when patients use medications with medium to high anticholinergic activity there was an association with: “poorer cognition in immediate memory recall and executive function, reduced glucose metabolism in the brain, whole-brain and temporal atrophy and clinical decline.”

Myer recommends consulting with a healthcare practitioner to find safer alternatives to these drugs.

Natural alternatives include using powdered microcrystalline cellulose powder to help with environment allergies, herbs such as thyme and ivy to help relieve coughs and bronchial spasms and the natural remedy ‘angelica archangelica’ for bladder problems.

“Lavender and lemon balm help to promote restful sleep without the use of drugs,” says Myers.

Another medication that can cause problems for some people: cholesterol-lowering statins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 93 percent of adults using a cholesterol lowering drug are using a statin, the most prescribed drug in the United States.

But the drug can cause rare side effects with some studies suggesting they may increase the risks for diabetes and muscle weakness in some people.

Health experts say weight loss, increased exercise, and eating a healthy diet are the best ways to combat high cholesterol and many other health problems.

“”The best course of action is to consider drugs as a last resort and reduce their use dramatically,” says Myers. “Always turn to food, exercise, and lifestyle changes first to address your health symptoms.

“And remember that dietary supplements can both help prevent disease as well as resolve disease and can often outperform many overused drugs.”

© 2017 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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Millions of Americans take painkillers, allergy medications, sleep aids, and cold remedies — many of them purchased over the counter. But certain medications — like the pain relievers containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen — can be deadly. How can you tell if you’re at risk?
dangerous, drugs
Sunday, 13 Aug 2017 06:59 PM
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