The not-so-desirable effects of painkillers and other OTC drugs have been criticized often, but a new revelation by researchers seems to have identified a much more concerning issue.
Up until now, the prolonged use of painkillers and other OTC medications was linked to the occurrence of different health issues including gastroesophageal reflux, heart attacks and more. The new review, however, sheds light on yet another serious health issue affecting women who may have overused painkiller during their lives.
AdvertisementAccording to the review, Co-codamol, a so-called 'safe' painkiller, which contains paracetamol and codeine (an opiate belonging to the same family as morphine and heroin) causes its users to get addicted to it.
Though codeine is an effective painkiller, like other opioids, it does add an effect of calm and wellbeing. When taken for a longer duration, it can prove to be addictive.
"Patients and doctors perceive co-codamol as being the safest of all opioids, but in reality it doesn't mean that it is safe," Glasgow based general practitioner Des Spence, explained.
A few studies also suggest how women in particular, tend to be more addicted to this drug than men. A charity that helps people deal with addiction from the use of OTC and prescription drugs has claimed that around 65 percent of the helpline inquiries came from women.
"Prescriptions of co-codamol have almost doubled in a decade and that doesn't reflect an increase in pain, but a lack of supervision of prescriptions," Dr Spence added.
"A few years ago, our practice noticed a large number of painkillers on repeat were being over-ordered, patients were having three times the amount they needed because the system wasn't picking up on the orders. So we took all painkillers off repeat so patients had to be reviewed by a doctor when they wanted more."
Since the addiction is basically a gradual process, careful personal monitoring needs to be done on an individual level to help prevent addiction to the drug. Public awareness of the addictive effects of prolonged consumption of painkillers can also help individuals become more aware, and may reduce the numbers of individuals taking painkillers for minor pains.
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