Survey: 1 in 5 adults disregard safety when using over-the-counter pain meds


Photo: Yuri_Arcurs/iStockphoto

Fort Washington, PA – Although an overwhelming majority of Americans feel confident when choosing over-the-counter pain relievers, 1 in 5 fail to take safety into account when making their selection, according to the results of a recent survey from the U.S. Pain Foundation.

Nearly 1,300 adults nationwide who took an over-the-counter pain reliever in the past 90 days were surveyed online and by telephone. Results showed that although 97 percent of respondents were confident in their selection, many placed greater value on the medication’s effectiveness – and how quickly it can relieve pain – than on safety.

In addition, 45 percent don’t take into account prescription medications they’re currently taking, 58 percent don’t consider pre-existing health conditions, 65 percent don’t consider other OTC medicines being taken, and 73 percent of respondents 60 and older don’t consider their age.

When choosing and using an over-the-counter pain reliever, the U.S. Pain Foundation suggests you:

  • Select the over-the-counter pain reliever that’s right for you based on your health profile.
  • Always read and adhere to the directions on the Drug Facts label, which may change based on your health or over time.
  • Don’t take more or less than the recommended dosage, and be aware of potential interactions with other medications you’re taking.
  • Be aware of the active ingredients in your medicine and take only one medicine with the same active ingredients at a time.
  • Unless instructed by a physician, don’t take pain relievers longer than directed.

“When choosing an OTC pain reliever, consumers should always balance finding effective relief with important safety conditions like their age, current health conditions, and other medicines they are taking,” U.S. Pain Foundation Founder Paul Gileno said in an Aug. 29 press release.

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