Non Prescription—Not Necessarily Non-Hazardous

Most patients know that doctor-prescribed medication is pretty serious stuff. But if you buy it at the drug store, how much of a problem could it be? More than you’d think. Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol) routinely risks acute liver disease—more so than alcohol or hepatitis.

Long-term use of pain-relievers ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can raise blood pressure, harm the stomach, liver and kidneys.

None of these products are hazardous if used only occasionally. It’s consistent use that leads to problems—because, since they’re not prescribed, there’s no limit on how many the patient can take.

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