Health & Spirit

NSAIDs can get nasty!

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Ben Affleck, Lisa Kudrow and Janet Jackson suffer from migraines, as do 39 million other Americans. Tension headaches will afflict probably everyone at one time or another. Add to that the fact that 100 million folks in the U.S. deal with chronic pain, and it's hardly surprising that 30 billion doses of prescription and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and celecoxib, are consumed annually in the U.S. Only 70 million are for prescription NSAIDs; the rest are self-prescribed and taken however you (and you and you) determine.

Little wonder a new study out of Boston University School of Medicine found that many adult ibuprofen users make health-threatening mistakes when taking those meds. Fifteen percent took more than the maximum recommended dose in a one-week period. Overdoses also occurred from: (1) taking too much daily; (2) taking two different NSAIDs at the same time; or (3) failing to wait long enough between doses.

The bottom line: Never use an NSAID for pain for more than 10 days without talking with a doctor. And drink at least 8 ounces of water per pill. Misuse increases the inherent risks of NSAIDs, which include gastrointestinal distress, internal bleeding and ulcers, as well as an increased chance of high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.

So for acute pain, follow NSAID use instructions carefully. For chronic pain, work with your doctor to develop a pain-management program, including physical and cognitive therapy, meditation and the safe use of pain-relieving technology and medications, both OTC and Rx.


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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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