Facts you didn’t know about common painkillers

Dr. Escobar, pain management doctor in Pembroke Pines, shares unknown facts about common pain relievers. A few decades ago, easing your pain was relatively easy: take two aspirin pills and call the doctor in the morning. Now the pharmaceutical market offers a variety of options to choose, which can sometimes make it more complicated for customers to make the right choice.

Willow bark was one of the earliest painkillers. Extracts or teas of willow bark have been used to treat fever and pain for more than 2,000 years. Unfortunately, the active ingredient, salicylic acid, is not good for the stomach. In 1897, a German chemist working for the Bayer Company found a way to modify salicylic acid so it was less harmful. The compound he came up with, acetylsalicylic acid, is what we know as aspirin. It remained the premier painkiller until the development of acetaminophen in 1956 and ibuprofen in 1962. Since then, more than a dozen others have entered the market. Dr. Escobar, pain management doctor in Pembroke Pines, shares his knowledge to help you make a proper choice.

Pain relievers: What you need to know by Pain management doctor in Pembroke Pines

No, Tylenol is not an NSAID – it is acetaminophen. The two main categories of commonly used pain relievers (analgesics) are acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin and drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors. Many are available over the counter, some are available by prescription only.

Picking the right one can be enough to give you a headache, which later you will have to kill …

Screen Shot 2018 10 10 at 15.09.09

Pain management doctor in Pembroke Pines explains the difference

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) ease feelings of pain, lower fever, and cool down inflammation. They can be very effective for any pain arising from inflammation-related conditions such as arthritis. In comparison, acetaminophen relieves the pain but does not affect inflammation.

Disadvantages of NSAIDs

As is the case of all drugs, there are some drawbacks. Regular use of NSAIDs other than aspirin has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease; NSAIDs are also hard on the stomach, causing ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding. These problems, however, only emerge after long-term and consistent consumption--don't be scared to take the occasional aspirin pill for a headache.

NSAIDs (including the COX-2 drugs) can also be hard on the kidneys. If you experience pain in your lower back, discomfort during urination, weakness and have a fever, check the state of your kidneys immediately and halt the consumption of medication.

All NSAIDs (except aspirin) tend to increase blood pressure. The effect is strongest for people who already have high pressure, however people with normal blood pressure may also be at risk.

Acetaminophen’s side effects

Acetaminophen is easier on the stomach compared to NSAIDs but has a negative effect on the liver, for example. The upper level of a normal dose of acetaminophen is around 10 pills, however, the number can be different for some people. Acetaminophen was observed to have an effect on the liver after large doses, or smaller to medium doses with more frequent consumption. Drinking alcohol during treatment can also have a significant effect on liver damage.

Specific COX-2 inhibitors

A new family of NSAIDs, called specific COX-2 inhibitors, was developed in the 1990s. They were supposed to be an improved version of classic NSAIDs: medications that would relieve pain but spare the gut. Although these drugs were a bit easier on the gastrointestinal system, it turned out they weren't especially heart friendly. A third COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib (Celebrex) still remains on the market, while the previous versions have since exited. A dose of 200 mg per day or less is considered safe for an average person.

Pain management doctor in Pembroke Pines advises going generic

Generic over-the-counter pain relievers are less expensive than their brand-name counterparts, and are just as effective--you’re simply not paying for the name of the brand!

Help for NSAID stomach-related issues

If you happen to be in need of a daily intake of NSAID (please consult with the doctor before doing so!), you may experience gastrointestinal complications. Taking a proton pump inhibitor can offset this side effect. Proton-pump inhibitors include esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), and rabeprazole (Aciphex).

Combining two drugs

If (after the recommendation of a doctor) you need to take both aspirin and NSAID, timing is important, as NSAID blocks some of aspirin’s abilities. One strategy is to take aspirin first thing in the morning, then wait at least 30 minutes before taking an NSAID.

Want to know more about pain management in Pembroke Pines?

We invite you to find out more about pain management procedures at our Pembroke Pines clinic. To receive detailed information about clinics in Hollywood or Aventura, contact our friendly staff today or visit our website.