Be cautious with pain medicationsBy Veita Bland, M.D. / May 19, 2017
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The weather is getting warm and a lot of people will restart activities not seen since the fall. That lawn beckons, household repairs seem to pop up and those who require the warmth to exercise will all start up again.
I will start to see those weekend warriors hit our office doors. They use and over use muscles not called upon since the fall. They come in sore and bruised and battered from their activities. They all just want some relief from their sore and tender muscles.
Many will just take an NSAID over the counter. You know those nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs. They will give it no thought and just pop a Motrin, Aleve, Nuprin, Ibuprofen that are over the counter for muscle aches. Others will go to the cabinet and pull out the Celebrex, Naprosyn, Diclofenac, prescription strength Ibuprofen and think nothing of popping that capsule and taking a pill to relieve the pain. For most this is okay but for a few it could spell disaster.
It has long been known that some may develop stomach irritation possibly leading to ulcers from these meds. This can often become an issue in people over 70 years of age.
We also know that some blood pressure control may be lost when taking an NSAID, therefore caution should be exercised in all situations.
A recent study looked to see if those taking NSAIDs had more heart attacks. Researchers have found that if people had a risk of cardiovascular disease they were more prone to suffer a cardiac event if they took NSAIDs. Researchers also noted that if patients/study participants were going to have an event it would be early in the treatment and the higher the dosage of the NSAID, the higher the risk. Thus, use the medication to take care of the problem and then stop using it.
So what are those who have legitimate problems such as arthritis pain or have cardiovascular problems to do? With the advent of the opioid epidemic those drugs are not the way. This population should take a look at Tylenol or better yet be open to old fashion balms and rubs. There has been a revolution in these types of medications. Their absorptive properties have improved and they can be quite effective for many. The odor is not the problem of years past. Their biggest drawback is their frequency of use. Some of these preparations are used twice a day but most must be used four times a day. There are also an array of patches out there. Some of these are prescription based while others are over the counter. These patches can be quite effective for many.
My main message today though is if there is a risk of cardiovascular disease ask your healthcare provider if they think NSAIDs are for you.
Your healthcare provider will size up your cardiovascular risk and tell you. Fear not, there are many alternative medications that can be used for pain. You will not have to live in pain. So go for it and get that lawn done, fix that house up and get that exercise program on the road.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on North Carolina A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.