Overused Over the Counter Medications

7/23/2008 Drugstore shelves are filled with pain relievers. There are more than 350 different kinds! Most carry the warnings "do not take more than directed" or "do not exceed recommended dose," but not everyone heeds those warnings.

Consumer Reports says beware of overusing over-the-counter pain relievers. Gayle Williams, Consumer Reports, says "People don't realize it's risky to take more than the recommended dose or to use pain relievers for weeks at a time without consulting a doctor."

If you have trouble reading the directions on over-the-counter drugs, you're not alone. A Consumer Reports survey of six-thousand online subscribers found almost half have difficulty reading the fine print.

And overuse of pain relievers can lead to many health problems, according to another Consumer Reports' survey of 47-thousand subscribers. Williams says "Four percent, nearly 2,000 people suffered serious side effects including ulcers, or problems with their kidneys, heart, or liver."

So next time you go to use a pain reliever, realize there are real risks to not following the directions.

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