The other overdose crisis: over-the-counter pain medications
October 24, 2017
Dr. Charles Melbern Wilcox, a professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a chair of Gut Check: Know Your Medicine, writes that overdoses kill nearly 30,000 Americans a year and cause more than 1 million hospitalizations. But there’s another overdose issue playing outside their shadow: the misuse of over-the-counter pain medicines like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and others.
These widely used “safe” medications can cause serious gastrointestinal bleeding; create stomach ulcers; damage the esophagus, intestine and liver; and even kill. In the United States, misuse of these medications sends nearly 200,000 people to the hospital each year.