Whether you reach for a Tylenol to quiet a headache or throw back an Advil after a particularly hard run, those over the counter painkillers can be a fast way to getting you on the road to feeling better. But as harmless as they may seem, it also seems like more and more, we're getting warnings about the dangers of these nonprescription drugs.
A new study has found that Advil and other NSAIDs may increase your risk for developing an irregular heartbeat, which can lead to conditions like heart failure and stroke. The study followed more than 32,000 people and found that there is a link between using NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatories and developing an irregular heartbeat. While previous studies have found a link between regular use of NSAIDs and heart disease, this study found that new users of these types of drugs were at the most risk.
Advil, of course, isn't the only OTC drug that comes with precautions. Overdosing on acetaminophen (like Tylenol) can cause serious liver damage, and even just a normal dose of acetaminophen causes liver damage in people who drink heavily (Tylenol's warning label says to not take it if you drink three or more alcoholic drinks a day). And while aspirin has amazing heart-healthy benefits, doctors warn that it can cause serious stomach bleeding and increase the risk of brain hemorrhage.
With studies still sussing out the pros and cons of these drugs, do you think twice before reaching into your medicine cabinet, or do you only take OTC painkillers occasionally?