Health Advice



Flop, flop, fizz, fizz

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

"National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978) pits the rowdy members of the Delta fraternity house against the college's tightly wound Dean Vernon Wormer. The fact that the frat brothers once dumped a truckload of Fizzies into a swimming pool during a swim meet is proof enough for him that they should be shut down.

Fizzies, a popular effervescent, fruit-flavored tablet that you added to water, finally fizzled out 2016, but effervescent tablets are now popular as a way to take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. They're also available as a combo antihistamine-antacid (ranitidine) to ease heartburn, GERD and ulcers.

Unfortunately, a study published in the European Heart Journal reveals that the high sodium content in fast-acting acetaminophen -- and those other medications -- increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure, and those all cause mortality in seniors.

Researchers found that over the course of a year, folks who were previously diagnosed with high blood pressure and took the fizzy acetaminophen had a two-fold increase in the risk of death. Among those without high blood pressure, the risk still went up 87%. Plus, the more of the medication they took and the longer they took it for, the greater the risks. Similar risks were seen in patients who took sodium-containing ibuprofen or ranitidine. That's compared to folks who took non-sodium-containing acetaminophen, ibuprofen or ranitidine as tablets, capsules or as a suspension in a liquid.

The smart move for anyone: Ask your doc about switching ASAP to a form of these medications that even Dean Wormer would love.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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