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Overuse of Pain Killers Can Lead to Heart Attacks
Updated: Sunday, June 23 2013, 10:20 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--If you take painkillers you could be increasing your chance for several serious health problems.
Millions of Americans take over the counter medications for everyday pain relief.
Now, research shows high levels of the drugs could lead to serious, and even deadly, health problems.
"We worry about kidney problems stomach ulcers and bleeding and the most dreaded is cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke,” said Dr. Tara Narula.
It's something some say they don't find surprising.
"With anything there's going to be side effects so I guess it's pick and choose what's more worth it for everyone. Everyone is an individual case,” said Lexy Helgens who says she rarely takes pain killers and others agree.
"Every day they are coming up with something new that's going to cause this or cause that,” said Chris
The study finds that common drugs like Motrin, Advil, Aleve and others can increase the chances of heart failure for those taking high doses for an extended period of time.
Patients who have chronic pain and inflammatory conditions are most at risk.
"Like osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and these doses are prescription levels or two to three times what would be the maximum dose on your over the counter label,” said Narula.
While there are some risks at high levels, short term use is still considered safe.
People we talked with say people need to have common sense with using over-the-counter drugs.
"Definitely consult your doctor. That's one of the first things that you should do,” Westonsmart said.
"If you ever take something in excess that's going to affect your body in a negative way,” said Elizabeth McDonnell who says she takes pain killers on occasion.
Now there are few other pain relievers that are safer.
Tylenol as well as opium-based drugs such as morphine are good options.
Still it's always best to consult your doctor before taking any of these drugs.