What should I know about analgesics?

Side Effects and Drug Interactions

What are the possible side effects from using analgesics and what should I do about them?

The following side effects are not generally serious. Still, you should check with your doctor if any of them occur while you're taking analgesics:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • nausea or vomiting
  • rash or itching
  • tinnitus or ringing in your ear
  • upset stomach

Other more serious side effects can occur while you're taking analgesics. You should get the advice of your doctor if any of the following occur:

  • you develop ulcers
  • you experience gastric bleeding, which can cause you to have black or bloody stools or to vomit blood or dark material
  • you experience a worsening of kidney disease

What drugs may interact with analgesics and what other health conditions might create a problem?

Talk with your pharmacist and your doctor about possible drug interactions with analgesics. Be sure you tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the other medications you take. Tell them also about any other medical conditions you have, such as high blood pressure or asthma. It is also important to keep your regular appointments so your doctor can monitor your progress while you take these medications.

Analgesics can have serious adverse effects if you are taking any of the following. So let your doctor and pharmacist know if you are taking:

  • anticoagulants such as coumadin
  • asthma medications
  • some medications for ulcers
  • cimetidine
  • some blood pressure medications
  • some heart medications, including digoxin
  • medications for seizures such as phenytoin or lithium

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