Feeling unwell? You want to avoid taking over-the-counter painkillers too often and for too long if you can, say pharmacists.
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen may increase your risk of developing stomach ulcers and kidney damage, while excessive use of paracetamol could lead to liver damage, says a German state Chamber of Pharmacists.
You might also find you get withdrawal headaches if you stop taking the remedies after taking them frequently.
Plus, there’s a danger of side effects if you are taking other medicines too.
Higher doses of painkillers may impair the effectiveness of blood pressure medications, say chemists.
The good news is that there are often gentler alternatives to pain relief.
Sometimes, drinking water is all you need to do if you have a headache.
If your back is tense or you have period pain, sometimes it helps to give your blood circulation a boost, e.g. by exercising outdoors.
Heat patches, a hot water bottle or a warm bath can also relax your muscles and relieve pain.
But if you are finding you are in pain frequently, it is best to see a doctor who can identify the causes and draw up a sensible treatment plan as needed. – dpa