SOS: PMS! The Dangers of OTC Drugs, and
Chances are good that you’ve seen a television commercial for a drug where the reported side effects toggle between absurd and grotesque. During the quick mention of these side effects— frequent or painful urination, loss of smell, ringing in the ears, etc.—have you thought to yourself, who would take this stuff?
The reality is that not every side effect happens to every person, of course, but the potential for an adverse reaction is always looming—and side effects become very real if you don’t use a medication properly. That is why detailed directions are on the label for every type of drug, including not only prescribed medicines, but also over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and herbal supplements. As women—especially those who suffer from particularly painful periods—when looking for solutions to cramps, bloating, headaches, and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), they often default to OTC medicines that contain ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium (and, sometimes, caffeine). One of the worst assumptions to make is that an OTC medicine is totally safe just because it can be purchased without a doctor’s permission. The aforementioned ingredients are powerful—and dosage information is on the label for a reason. No matter how severe your PMS symptoms might be, taking an OTC medicine too frequently or in too high a dose can be harmful to your health.
The one common statement on an OTC label is that adverse health issues may occur if you use more than directed or use it longer than directed. The worst side effect would be an allergic reaction to the pain reliever,