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March 22, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Take your drugs right

This is a boring contribution.

It is about basic painkillers.

This will not be an interesting read, but most things that are good for you are not interesting.

This I know because I am a doctor, and I cannot name a single treatment I have administered that is interesting. Interesting from the biochemical-mechanism-nerd-action-angle­—yay; interesting reading for the layman—nay.

Why write about how to take your simple little painkillers?

1. I am shocked and dismayed by the ridiculously random analgesia regimes I hear about from friends and from the teenagers whose conversations I pleasure myself with on the bus;

2. Painkillers are probably the most commonly used medications among our cohort;

3. It is the things we commonly consume that get us in the end: too much booze; too many pies; too many Panadols;

4. One little quarter of a paracetamol tablet could send your dog or cat to heaven.

So here it is: Paracetamol and/or ibuprofen.

1. First take two tablets of paracetamol: the cheapest at the supermarket; effective; safe. I have no time for the ubiquitous paracetamol-haters. It works. Take it with ibuprofen if your pain is strong, but do not shun it altogether. The cheapest brand is exactly the same as Panadol—more expensive brands will probably have more luxurious coatings. two tablets every four hours but only up to eight tabs per day.

2. Alternatively, taking ibuprofen on its own is a bit more effective than taking paracetamol on its own. It is equally safe for most people, but more expensive. If you’ve reacted to it before, do not take it. Some asthmatics have problems with it. Nausea and abdominal pain are some of the more common side effects. Again, the generic brand is just as awesome as Nurofen—on the inside. But on the outside I appreciate that Nurofen is so so shiny. Ibuprofen is safer than Voltaren or any other NSAID. The dose is 200­–400mg every 4–6 hours, and take no more than 1200mg per day.

3. Taking paracetamol and ibuprofen together may give you better pain relief than taking them at different times.

4. Do not take aspirin for pain relief, even though it dissolves so pleasantly and some unusual people love the taste. It’s not very effective and the side-effect profile is poor.

5. Combination pills like Nurofen Plus, Panadeine or Paradex are not are effective as trusty ol’ paracetamol and ibuprofen, and adverse effects are more common. Do not bother, no matter how shiny the packaging.

6. If your pain is severe, ongoing, or if you are not getting relief with the simple regime I am laying down for you, you do need to see a doctor.

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