How Often Should You Have Painkillers?


Painkillers as the name suggests are a type of medication prescribed in order to suppress shooting pain especially after sustaining an injury or post-surgery. Painkillers are meant to be taken for the shortest time possible and in the lowest doses in order to bring your pain under control. This is done to prevent any harm to health from side effects.

Painkillers comprise over-the-counter pain relievers, narcotics (opioid) painkillers and prescription anti-inflammatories.

Side Effects:
The reason, why one shouldn’t take painkillers too often, are listed below:

  • NSAIDs can cause side effects such as bleeding in the gut and stomach and cardiovascular disorders
  • Paracetamol is a commonly opted for medication to lower fever but too much and unsupervised consumption of paracetamol can harm your liver permanently
  • Opioids can cause side effects like dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion and constipation.

Types of Painkillers
The types of over-the-counter medications, as well as prescription anti-inflammatories you can take like painkillers to get relief from pain, are as follows:

1.   NSAIDs

NSAIDs help to lower pain associated with inflammation. They should not be combined with other NSAIDs, prescription or OTC such as ibuprofen, naproxen or acetylsalicylic acid

2.   Acetaminophen

This painkiller is ideal for pain relief but does nothing for inflammation. Acetaminophen is often found in many cold and flu drugs that tackle sinus pain, fever and body aches. The reason why acetaminophen is found in so many medications is that it is easier on the stomach as opposed to other painkillers.

3.   Prescription Anti-Inflammatories

Prescription NSAIDs with higher strength in drugs in OTC NSAID are available but they are generally in combination with other narcotics. Dosages may vary with respect to short-term pain (injury or surgery-related) to chronic inflammatory cases.

4.   Narcotic Pain Relievers

Narcotic painkillers also referred to as opioids They are synthetic variants of natural opiate substances found in the opium poppy. They are mainly used to treat conditions of acute and chronic pain and also cancer.

Common Mistakes Made with Painkillers
Painkillers should be taken carefully, only in the recommended dosage and only when prescribed by the doctor. Here are some common mistakes made when consuming painkillers:

·         Taking too little or too much of the drug
·         Taking the painkiller with other drugs that can cause conflict in the system
·         Not taking the drug before or after food can make you fall sick
·         Not giving an adequate gap between two doses in a day
·         Waiting too long between doses can lead to increased pain
·         Eating/drinking certain food and beverages such as alcohol or even grapefruit juice can interfere with the effects of the medication and can lead to gastrointestinal disorders
·         Suddenly stopping the medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, profuse sweating and rapid heartbeat

How to Take Painkillers Correctly

  • Read inserts and labels
    When taking painkillers it is very important to read the label carefully for proper instructions with respect to food and drug interactions
  • Notify your doctor about medications
    When your healthcare provider writes your prescription, make sure you tell him/her about whatever medication you are currently under.
  • Ask questions about side effects
    If you experience certain recurring side effects, notify the doctor and wait for your doctor’s orders to either taper down your medication or switch to something that is accepted by your system
  • Follow directions to the T
    Follow the directions your doctor mentioned or listed on the label. Do not detract from the steps mentioned
  • Do not stop a painkiller on your own
    If your doctor has prescribed a certain dose for a minimum number of days, do not stop taking your painkiller prior to that. You must complete the course of medication and should you feel unwell, consult your doctor and then stop the medication.

Painkillers are not life-threatening medications but can cause harm to your health if consumed incorrectly. Always take your medication as instructed, have it in the lowest dose possible, do not skip doses and have it with nutritious food. Do not over-exceed the recommended dose and do not have painkillers at the drop of a hat.