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Effects of Pain Relievers on Your Liver

Our bodies are phenomenal in performing miraculous feats. We have internal organs that work to keep us alive. Our largest organ, besides our skin, is our liver, which is constantly filtering everything we eat, drink, swallow, inhale or inject. It’s a Herculean organ but it is self-cleaning, and if we are constantly expecting it to take care of what we ingest without taking care of what we ingest, the effects can be harmful.

What some of us fail to understand is that any medication, whether from the pharmacy or the herbal health store goes through changes when filtered through our liver, and those byproducts can be toxic. Acetaminophen is found in nearly all cold, flu and pain remedies in the drugstore. Prescribed use has been caused for concern by doctors for being instrumental in liver failure. Oxycodone can cause liver enzyme production which damages this vital organ, as does Percocet, Vicodin, and Lortab.

The interaction of medications with another can cause complications for even the healthiest. Mixing pain relievers with alcohol can become life-threatening. Aspirin and alcohol can cause death, and children should never take aspirin because of its link to Reye’s Syndrome (swelling of the liver and brain).

Herbal pain relievers are touted to be safe, natural and better for us, but that is not entirely true, in that several can be toxic: Black Cohosh, Gordoloba and Kombucha teas, Valerian when combined with Skullcap can cause damage. Because herbal supplements are not monitored by FDA regulations in the same way that pharmaceuticals are, we can’t know exactly what is in each product, or what how it might affect us. Online vendors may guarantee that their “liver cleanses” will reverse liver disease, but they do absolutely nothing. Always consult your doctor on any medication and ask about the side effects.