I get the impression that most people don’t put much thought into over the counter medication. Other than the warnings on the bottle about not taking more than a certain number in a certain amount of time, these drugs are considered “safe”. You take them when you have a symptom to relieve, you stop when it goes away. It wasn’t until I started taking prescription medication for my mental illness that I realized how much I take OTC meds for granted.
When I first started taking medication one of my friends looked up as much information on my meds as he could find. One of the things he looked for is other things I could and could not take at the same time. And one of the things on the no-no list was NSAIDs.
An NSAID is a “Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug”. Two of the most common examples of NSAIDs are Aspirin and Ibuprofen (sometimes known as Advil). Wait, Advil? I couldn’t have freaking Advil?? Advil, the pill I take at least ten of every month to function in the face of intense menstrual cramping. Also on this list was Excedrin, since in contains Aspirin, which turned into a huge problem when the very prescription causing all this nonsense started giving me migraines. Great.
As it turns out my friend wasn’t quite correct, and I could, in fact, take NSAID medication as long as I was careful. But the year I went without taking them made me start to appreciate how much society takes them for granted. I’m tired of people asking why someone in pain doesn’t just “take painkillers”, and not just because over the counter painkillers are not strong enough for everyone’s pain. Some people just can’t.