By: Melissa Dubois
How often do you read the label on prescriptions, or even over-the-counter painkillers? Don’t be ashamed if you don’t, because 59% of Americans admit that they don’t, either. However, reading the labels is a habit you should look into adopting, because some of the ingredients listed in these common over-the-counter medicines may shock you.
Advil is one of the most common drug store painkillers. Unfortunately, few recognize that Advil and Ibuprofen have the same active ingredient: ibuprofen. In fact, a study showed that only 19% of people know that Advil and Ibuprofen are interchangeable. Similarly, few recognize that Tylenol’s active ingredient is acetaminophen, which is more commonly known as the ingredient that fuels Percocet and Vicodin.
In this case, ignorance is not bliss, it’s fatal. Due to the majority of people not knowing that acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol, over-the-counter painkillers has become more deadly than illegal drug consumption. The unintentional misuse of these medications has caused numerous people to abuse the substance and overdose, which can cause severe liver damage and in extreme cases, death. Tylenol overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., creating 26,000 hospitalizations and around 500 deaths each year, according to research provided by the Food and Drug Administration. Even if you are not a drug abuser, liver damage and other health conditions can result from frequent and infrequent pill consumption.
To avoid drug misuse, scientists have proposed multiple strategies to raise awareness and provide dosage information. The most effect solution, however, would be to find an alternative, natural painkiller that has significantly less side-effects. Recently, coffee has shown to be a promising pain-reliever, which is why caffeine is a common ingredient listed in pain medication. (Caffeine is yet another example of a painkiller ingredients that the majority of people are unaware of). For those in states allowing such a treatment, medical marijuana has also shown success in relieving pain, as well.
Instead of reaching for the Motrin or Aspirin, next time brew a cup of coffee. Your body will enjoy the natural healing powers of the coffee beans and caffeine, and it will give your liver a well-deserved break. There is no need to worry about misusing drugs if you simply decrease your intake and dependency. It is always better to try natural solutions than rely on pharmaceuticals and other harmful medications.