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Consumer Reports Top Pain Med Advice You Don't Want to Miss

Tim Boyer's picture
Prescription Medications

Taking pain meds can be a risky venture toward managing your pain—especially if you have an underlying condition such as having had a heart attack, kidney failure, a stroke or even an ulcer reports researchers from the August issue of Consumer Reports on Health, who state that taking a common pain med like Advil can trigger or worsen cardiac and gastrointestinal problems.

Other sources state that taking some pain meds can actually kill your sex life.

In a current review of their “Best Buy Drugs,” researchers from Consumer Reports on Health took a look at the risks associated with taking some common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that people choose for treating arthritic pain.

What they found was that all of them are equally effective in managing pain, but that for particular patients some NSAIDs may be safer than others. For example, naproxen-based meds such as Aleve and Midol appear to have a lower associated risk of causing a heart attack or stroke, whereas Celebrex is easier on a person’s stomach over other common pain relievers.

Their recommendations for which pain meds are safest and cheapest are summarized as follows:

• For patients who have a high risk of having a heart attack, a stroke or internal bleeding their recommendation for treating pain is to first try acetaminophen-based pain relievers such as Tylenol or its generic formulations. Their reason for this choice is that these types of pain relievers are not known for triggering the aforementioned medical conditions.

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• If the acetaminophen-based pain relievers do not provide enough relief, the next step is to try naproxen-based meds such as Aleve and Midol—two of their Best Buy Drug picks. However, if you have an increased risk of intestinal bleeding, Consumer Reports recommends trying celecoxib (Celebrex) as it has a lower risk of potential ulcer complications in comparison to other NSAIDs.

• Another option is to take pain relievers that are applied topically rather than orally. Consumer Reports on Heath recommends trying NSAIDs such as diclofenac gel (Voltaren), drops (Pennsaid), or patches (Flector) if you have cardiac or intestinal conditions. These pain relievers are believed to cause less internal bleeding and have the added benefit of posing less of a risk of a heart attack or stroke because the topical meds provide a lower dose of the active ingredients to the body.

• If you have kidney disease or kidney failure, Consumer Reports on Heath states that you should avoid all NSAIDs.

For a complete list of options toward treating arthritic pain, go to the August issue of Consumer Reports on Health or click online to their informative website CRBestBuyDrugs.org for more information.

For non-pill pain solutions, get plenty of exercise, focus on anti-inflammatory foods and maintain a normal weight.

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Reference: Consumer Reports on Health “Ease Arthritis Pain Safely” August 2013.