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5 of the Most Dangerous Pain Medications

The most dangerous pain medications are the ones that you might think are safe because you get them from the local drug storeWhich pain medication are safe and which ones are dangerous? What’s surprising is that many of the pain medications deemed dangerous, are the ones that most often fill our medicine cabinets. When we think of dangerous drugs we think of heroin, meth, or other “street drugs.” We don’t tend to see every day pain medications we get from the local drug store as a threat, but pain medications and adverse drug reactions are the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. So which ones are dangerous?

Salicylates (Aspirin, Acetylsalicylate)
Higher doses or prolonged use of lower doses doubles your likelihood of perforated ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding (even the coated kind!). Research also shows that 90-95% of Reye’s Syndrome cases (a disease that severely damages internal organs) were preceded with taking aspirin.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
More than 56,000 people annually will visit the emergency room due to acetaminophen overdoses. It’s the #1 reason listed for calls to Poison Control Centers. And it’s the leading cause of acute liver failure.

Opiates (Vicodin, Lorcet, Norco, Percocet, Percodan, hydrocodone, oxycodone)
Opiate-based pain medications are highly addictive, and put people at risk for abuse and substance dependence. The number of opiate overdoses, or drug interactions/overdoses involving opiates, continues to climb each year at alarming rates.

NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, ibuprofen, naproxen)
NSAIDs like Advil are supposed to be the better choice over Tylenol, but more than 16,000 people die each year from NSAID-related complications. In fact, research has shown that the odds of dying from non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug after two months is around 1 in 1,200. NSAIDs also cause gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding.

Cox-2 Inhibitors (Celebrex, celecoxib)
While studying to see if this pain medication had the potential to be an anti-cancer drug, the National Cancer Institute discovered that at high doses (400mg to 800mg) a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke more than doubled and even tripled.

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