Dependency of pain killers in India, experts says cognitive-behavioral therapy can address the root cause

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New Delhi:The rise in the usage and dependency on painkillers across the country highlights a concerning trend that demands urgent attention. With the easy availability of prescription drugs over-the-counter, many individuals are resorting to self-medication without proper guidance from experts. This casual approach towards pain management not only points out the underlying health issues but also increases the risk of addiction to these medications.

Limited access to affordable healthcare services and inadequate pain management options tend to push people to opt for self-medication as a quick-fix solution. Addressing these root causes requires a correct approach that stresses the importance of education regarding medication usage and better access to holistic pain management alternatives as potent solutions.

Dr Aklesh Tandekar, Head consultant critical care, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road, said, “With the rising trend of self-medication in India, there has been a spike in the usage of painkillers as over-the-counter (OTC) medications.”

Pain killers as OTC in India

While suitable access to these drugs may provide temporary relief for minor aches and pains, it also leads to potential misuse and abuse. The easy availability of painkillers without prescription has led to increased cases of drug dependence and addiction among individuals seeking immediate fixes for their discomfort, he added.

The lack of proper guidance or medical supervision when taking OTC painkillers can result in adverse side effects and health risks.

“Many people are unaware of the potential dangers associated with long-term use of these medications, including gastrointestinal issues, liver damage, and cardiovascular problems. It is the need of the hour for consumers and experts to exercise caution and educate themselves on the appropriate usage and dosage of painkillers to prevent further harm,” Dr Tandekar said.

Steps to mitigate the usage

To mitigate the usage of painkillers, it is essential to first explore alternative methods of pain management. This includes physical therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can address the root cause of the pain rather than just masking it with medication. Staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce chronic pain in the long run.

The expert said, “Another crucial step in reducing reliance on painkillers is effective communication with doctors. Patients should openly discuss their concerns and work together with their doctors to find alternative solutions for managing pain. Education plays a vital role in raising awareness about the risks associated with prolonged use of painkillers and promoting safer options for pain relief.”

Examples of most sold pain killers

One of the most commonly sold painkillers is Paracetamol. This medication is widely used to relieve mild to moderate pain and reduce fever. It works by blocking certain chemicals in the brain that cause pain and fever, making it a popular choice for headaches, muscle aches, and flu symptoms.

Ibuprofen is another top-selling pain killer that belongs to the class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It works by reducing inflammation and easing pain caused by conditions such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, and minor injuries. Both Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are considered safe when used according to their recommended dosages. It is important to consult the doctor before taking any medication to ensure proper usage and reduce potential side effects.

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