Stiftung Warentest: Painkillers a risk

Stiftung Warentest: Painkillers a risk

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Side effects of pain relievers are often underestimated

If you have a headache or backache, you quickly resort to painkillers such as acetaminophen, ASA or ibuprofen. However, the risks of over-the-counter preparations are often underestimated. Accordingly, Stiftung Warentest warns of the side effects in the current issue of its "test" magazine and advises caution when taking it.

142 million packs were dispensed in 2013, whether paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen or diclofenac (Voltaren): Pain relievers are available in almost every household and are often taken quickly and without much thought when complaining. Pharmacies in Germany sold around 142 million - mostly over-the-counter - packs in 2013 alone, according to the Stiftung Warentest with reference to current data from the market research company IMS Health. The inexpensive and over-the-counter funds work well in most cases. Nevertheless, health experts repeatedly warn of the health risks that can arise from high doses or long-term use.

Aspirin and Co. have "more side effects than many think" But how dangerous are the common pain relief medications really? The Stiftung Warentest has also taken up this question and examined the current studies on this topic. The conclusion: The over-the-counter active ingredients (ASA, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, paracetamol) that were previously rated as suitable are still suitable for relieving pain and fever, because their benefits would outweigh the risk even in the current state of research. However, the prerequisite for this is that the patients use them carefully, because paracetamol and the like are not harmless: "They usually work well - but have more side effects than many think", the Foundation warns in its current "test" - Magazine (09/2014).

Severe liver damage and heart attack possible. According to the foundation, it is particularly important to use painkillers carefully, because if they are taken in moderate doses there is normally no health risk. If consumed in excess, however, these could cause serious side effects, which, according to estimates by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, would require several thousand Germans to be treated in hospitals each year. For example, relatively "harmless" complaints such as headache, fatigue and nervousness are possible, but in rare cases also very serious consequences such as liver damage from acetaminophen and stomach damage from acetylsalicylic acid and related substances such as diclofenac and ibuprofen. According to current studies, the latter could even increase the risk of a heart attack.

It is better not to combine different painkillers In order not to take any risks, painkillers should therefore be taken for a maximum of four days in a row and ten days a month on recommendation of the Stiftung Warentest without medical advice. It is also important to read the leaflet including the dosing instructions carefully and to obtain further information from the pharmacy if necessary. Because caution is also required when choosing the "right" remedy, since not every product is equally suitable for everyone. The same applies to combination agents such as “Doppel Spalt compact” or “Neuralgin”, because these would often contain caffeine in addition to one or two active ingredients. Since this has an invigorating effect, there is a risk that the drug will be taken too often and for too long and that side effects will occur. Accordingly, according to the foundation, various painkillers should generally not be combined, because "the therapeutic effect does not improve reliably, but undesirable effects can accumulate."

Alleviate headaches naturally with peppermint oil To avoid health risks from medication entirely, you can also try to alleviate the symptoms naturally. Here, for example, there are various home remedies for headaches that can be used as an alternative to aspirin and acetaminophen. A proven remedy here is, for example, "essential peppermint oil from the pharmacy, which is applied extensively to the forehead, temples, neck and shoulders for tension headaches". So the mint can work in two ways, on the one hand it inhibits the transmission or processing of pain impulses and on the other hand it has a muscle relaxing effect, which is particularly important for headaches starting from the neck. (No)

Image: Sara Hegewald /

Author and source information

Video: Pain Medication Complications


  1. Marylu

    Explain why this is exclusively so? I doubt why not clarify this review.

  2. Tonye

    It's pointless.

  3. Aberto

    Adorable answer

  4. Deven

    I better just keep quiet

Write a message