Talking a low daily dose of aspirin has long been a recommendation for heart health, and many of us pop a Tylenol or an Advil to knock out a headache, muscle ache, arthritis pain, or menstrual cramps. Because of the accessibility of over-the-counter (OTC) medications like aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, many may think nothing of grabbing a pill to ease what ails us, or, in the case of aspirin, to actually improve our long-term health and reduce our risk for disease.
Newer research is demonstrating a downside of OTC painkillers. Some studies suggest that taking these medications over the long run -- even in low doses -- may be associated with more health risks than benefits. And some can be serious. Here we'll outline the new studies that have suggested that, while the risks may be rare, OTC medications are not as gentle and safe as we may be tempted to think.