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Does “Over The Counter” make it safe?

I was reading an article about a hidden danger inside over the counter medications. It’s one that not

many people would even think of, but it can lead to some pretty harsh side-effects if one doesn’t pay

attention to what they’re really putting in their body. But before I get to this hidden danger, let’s go over

some of the more widely known side effects of these easy-to-get drugs.

• Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Hundreds of people die from this each year, either

accidentally or intentionally.

• Ibuprofen can cause mild side effects such as gas, bloating or constipation, to much more

serious conditions such as ulcers, elevated blood pressure, liver and kidney damage. Rare cases

have even been shown to cause heart attacks and strokes.

• Aspirin can also cause milder side effects like heartburn and constipation, to much more serious

side effects like ulcers, kidney and liver damage from prolonged use.

• Naproxen also has the same list of side effects from the mild of stomach pain and dizziness to

the more serious of liver and kidney damage, heart attacks and stroke.

While this article may specifically be about OTC medications, this list of side effects also pertains to

those prescription drugs that contain these ingredients.

Now let’s talk about the hidden problem with OTC medications that you may not be aware of. It’s

sodium!

Research from the British Medical Journal has shown that many over-the-counter medications, which

can be very high in sodium, can lead to a variety of serious health problems. Those who used high-

sodium medications were 12% more likely to develop hypertension, and hypertension can lead to more

serious problems. In addition, the research shows that 22% of those who used high-sodium medications

were more likely to suffer a stroke. Those subjects studied that did experience a stroke, heart attack

or vascular death were 16% more likely to be taking these drugs on a regular basis.1

people who use OTC medications on a regular basis.

Sure, OTC medications may seem harmless at first, but they are drugs after all. We really need to

pay attention to what it is that we’re putting in our bodies, because that is how we live a better and

healthier life.

1 http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6954

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