Be careful of the drugs you buy

What's the leading cause of acute liver disease in the U.S.? Hepatitis? Alcohol? No, it's ordinary acetaminophen. Yes, that's the ingredient in many products such as Tylenol.

That's just one example of what the labels of over-the-counter drugs WON'T tell you.

Many common medications - even when taken as directed - can cause or worsen an alarming number of diseases, ranging from glaucoma to heart disease.

For example, the pain relieving drugs ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen (Aleve) can both raise your blood pressure and possible harm your stomach, liver and kidney if used long-term....and certain heartburn drugs may cause problems if taken with other common medications.

To avoid mistakes, simply follow these five safety tips:

• Avoid remedies that contain multiple ingredients. You may not need all of the ingredients, and they can raise your risk of side effects.

• Choose by active ingredient, NOT brand name. You'll avoid getting the wrong ingredient or unnecessary ones.

• If symptoms persist, stop the drug and call your doctor. You could be masking or mistreating a serious underlying problem or becoming dependent on the drug.

• Ask your doctor about precautions if you have a chronic disease.

(Taken from Consumer Reports On Health)

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