Painkiller Overkill: The Dangerous Side Effects of Painkillers

Other DiseasesBy Onlymyhealth editorial teamFeb 18, 2019

Only my Health, gets you a deep dive into the side effects of painkillers. Dr Waheed Zaman, Principal Consultant, Urology and renal transplant, answers crucial questions on when, how much and when not to take painkillers. Are painkillers the cure or mere suppressants? What organs are at maximum risk and is painkiller addiction a reality? Find answers to your painkiller problems in this episode of Health Talks.

It is often said that we must not resort to painkillers and endure the pain as long as possible. So is it true that popping in painkillers is counterproductive and has more ill effects than we can imagine?

Yes, it is true that we should not overuse painkillers because it leads to many side effects. People are taking painkillers over the counter which should be discouraged and the actual cause behind the pain should be monitored and should be rectified. People should avoid continuous use of painkillers.

How do painkillers work? It is a cure or just a suppressant?

It is just a suppressant. It works in three ways- anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic. So, every painkiller has its own mode of action.

What are the long term side effects of these painkillers and which organs are at the maximum risk of damage after consumption of painkillers continuously?

It affects many organs. First one may experience stomach aches or ulcers in the stomach. One may also experience nausea or vomiting. In long term, it affects the liver, heart and kidneys. The adverse effect on kidneys due to the consumption of painkillers is the biggest threat to one's health.

Are painkillers cancerogenic?

There are few studies which claimed that painkillers can lead to kidney cancer. The risk of getting kidney cancer is also high in the rest of the population. Similarly, another study was conducted by a leading journal which found that consumption of painkillers also increases the risk of breast cancer. Many other researches are also going on to prove the ill effects of painkillers.

Are painkillers addictive?

Yes, it is true. Some of the painkillers are more addictive than others. Some of them are easily available which should not be given over the counter. 

What are the ill effects of mixing painkillers?

The combination of drugs should be avoided as much as possible. One should not take multiple painkillers in a single day. Many a time people also consume these painkillers on an empty stomach which leads to ulcers in the stomach. People should avoid self-drug administration. Doctors and government together should restrict self-drug administration.

What is the best alternative to painkillers? How can one deal with the pain without taking a painkiller?

There are many alternates available which can stop people to over-consume painkillers. One should exercise regularly or try physiotherapy or yoga. One can also try acupressure techniques but from a certified person only. 

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