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  • Answer 1/13

    How does ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) work?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Ibuprofen and naproxen (Aleve) are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They keep your body from making prostaglandins, which are linked to both pain and inflammation. They’re used to treat a wide variety of problems, from headaches and back pain to arthritis and lupus.

  • Question 1/13

    Which is a possible side effect of ibuprofen?

  • Answer 1/13

    Which is a possible side effect of ibuprofen?

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    • Correct Answer:

    The best-known side effect of NSAIDs is bleeding in your intestinal tract. You may be more likely to have this if you take them often, are older than 65, have a history of ulcers, or use a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin) or a corticosteroid like prednisone. But they can also cause skin problems: If you get a rash, redness, or blisters, tell your doctor.

  • Question 1/13

    Doctors aren’t sure how acetaminophen (Tylenol) works.

  • Answer 1/13

    Doctors aren’t sure how acetaminophen (Tylenol) works.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    This popular alternative to NSAIDs seems to work on your nervous system. It can help with pain and fever, but not with inflammation.

  • Question 1/13

    What is a possible side effect of acetaminophen?

  • Answer 1/13

    What is a possible side effect of acetaminophen?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    While it's safe for most people when it's used correctly, taking too much of this medicine is the most common cause of liver failure in the U.S. That's why it's important to always follow the instructions on the bottle. If you think you need more than the label recommends, ask your doctor for guidance.

  • Question 1/13

    Using ibuprofen for a long time may cause:

  • Answer 1/13

    Using ibuprofen for a long time may cause:

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    If you take it often to keep headaches at bay, you could set yourself up for trouble. The same goes for acetaminophen. People who take over-the-counter headache medicines more than a few times a week sometimes get stuck in a cycle: The more they take, the more they need. And if they try to stop taking them, their headaches come back even worse. If you have this issue, you may need your doctor's help to break the cycle.

  • Question 1/13

    Taking NSAIDs often may raise your odds of having a heart attack.

  • Answer 1/13

    Taking NSAIDs often may raise your odds of having a heart attack.

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    • Correct Answer:

    Studies have linked these meds to greater chances of heart failure or stroke. That's not to say you shouldn’t ever use them -- taking them for a few days is fine for most people. But it's smart to take the lowest dose that works for you and use them only as long as you need them. The risk seems to get bigger the longer you take them. If you have heart disease, talk with your doctor before taking NSAIDs.

  • Question 1/13

    It's usually OK to take NSAIDs without talking to your doctor for:

  • Answer 1/13

    It's usually OK to take NSAIDs without talking to your doctor for:

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Just because you can buy them without a prescription doesn't mean there aren't risks. Using them for a long time also might keep you from seeing your doctor about a health problem that should be treated. If you find yourself taking pain relievers often or for more than 10 days in a row, it's time to get checked out.

  • Question 1/13

    Most people who take opioids, like Vicodin or OxyContin, for pain relief eventually get addicted.

  • Answer 1/13

    Most people who take opioids, like Vicodin or OxyContin, for pain relief eventually get addicted.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Opioids, also called narcotics, are often prescribed when other pain relievers just aren't enough. The chances of getting addicted to them are low if you take them for only a short time, but they go up if you use them for a long time to treat pain that doesn’t go away. Opioid addiction and misuse has become a serious problem and a leading cause of overdose.

  • Question 1/13

    Which is not an opioid?

  • Answer 1/13

    Which is not an opioid?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Cocaine is a stimulant drug, and doctors don't think of it as a narcotic, like opoids. While plenty of people use medication like Vicodin or OxyContin safely under their doctors' care, many who end up abusing them first took them because they were prescribed for pain relief. About 80% of people who use heroin say they used a prescription opioid before trying it. 

  • Question 1/13

    What is the most common side effect of opioids?

  • Answer 1/13

    What is the most common side effect of opioids?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    About 90% of people who use them have this problem. If your doctor prescribes an opioid, he also may give you a stool softener or laxative at the same time to help keep you regular. There are many other possible side effects, including nausea, drowsiness, and having a hard time peeing or getting an erection.

  • Question 1/13

    Which opioid medication is most likely to cause withdrawal symptoms?

  • Answer 1/13

    Which opioid medication is most likely to cause withdrawal symptoms?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    It can be hard to stop taking these drugs even if you’re not addicted to them. This is because your body may start to depend on them over time. This can happen with any opioid, but it may be worse with shorter-acting ones like Vicodin and Percocet.

  • Answer 1/13

    In addition to easing pain, aspirin also may:

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Many people who are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke take baby aspirin daily to protect their heart. This is at least in part because it's a blood thinner. But research also shows that taking it for at least 6 years may cut your chances of colorectal cancer by 19% and your risk of any type of gastrointestinal cancer by 15%. But talk to your doctor before taking aspirin to try to prevent heart disease or cancer.

  • Answer 1/13

    Who shouldn't take aspirin?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Because it thins your blood, it can be dangerous for people who already have a problem related to that. And if you take a blood thinner, like warfarin (Coumadin), it's usually best to stay away from aspirin and NSAIDs. Acetaminophen may be a better choice to fight your aches and pains.

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Sources | Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on July 31, 2017 Medically Reviewed on July 31, 2017

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on
July 31, 2017

IMAGE PROVIDED BY:

1) Left to right: hirenman69 / Thinkstock, kellyvandellen / Thinkstock, smartstock / Thinkstock

 

SOURCES

American Association of Poison Control Centers: "Opioid (Narcotic) Pain Medications."

American College of Rheumatology: "NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)."

Arthritis Foundation: "Stopping Narcotic Pain Medication," "Study Spells Out Health Risks of Oral Anti-Inflammatories."

BMJ: "Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Risk of Heart Failure in Four European Countries," "Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction With NSAIDs in Real World Use."

Cleveland Clinic: "Choose Painkiller Carefully if You Take Coumadin," "The Down Side and Side Effects of Painkillers."

EMSTAR: "Aspirin Administration."

Hospital for Special Surgery: "The Top 10 Myths of Chronic Pain."

Mayo Clinic: "Acute Liver Failure," "Rebound Headaches."

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment: "How Do Opioids Work in the Brain?" "Physical Dependence and Addiction," "What Drugs Are Opioids?"

National Cancer Institute: "Aspirin to Reduce Cancer Risk."

National Institute on Drug Abuse: "Prescription Opioid Use is a Risk Factor for Heroin Use."

St. Peter's Hospital: "Understanding the Basics of Pain Management: Facts and Myths."

Thrombosis Research: "The mechanism of action of aspirin."

FDA: "The Benefits and Risks of Pain Relievers: Q & A on NSAIDs with Sharon Hertz, M.D."

This tool does not provide medical advice.
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