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Can you get addicted to OTC NSAIDs?

(11 Posts)

Eg ibuprofen or diclofenac.

mspotatochip Wed 03-Nov-10 19:25:13

I dont think so they dont have a narcotic effect. Maybe a phsychological dependancy on your perceived need for them perhaps? I've been on and off brufen/ dicofenac / naproxen for years I never notice when i stop ifyswhim

Yes, likewise, I never notice when I stop.

maize Wed 03-Nov-10 19:46:35

They are non addictive. Its what they prescribe as pain relief for drug addicts.

DBennett Wed 03-Nov-10 20:07:11

It depends on what you mean by addictive.

There is no risk of psychological addiction beyond that of anything with a flavour.

There is no risk of a physical dependence causing shakes, nausea etc on withdrawal.

You can, as with any analgesic, get medication over-use headache if your regular dose is too high and rebound headache when you stop taking them.

Why do you ask?

Mostly out of curiosity, really. I have chronic back trouble, and often find myself taking them for weeks at a time. It becomes routine to take painkillers and i automatically add them to my shopping trolley. I have no difficulty stopping them when I no longer need them, and, as mspotatochip said, I dont really notice when I stop - it's more that I suddenly realise I haven't taken any for several days.

But every time I find myself taking NSAIDs for a long time, and doing so almost automatically, I get a little niggle of concern: do I really need this? What, exactly, is driving me to take it? Especially when I take it before I am in actual pain, eg first thing in the morning.

BTW I've never had rebound headache. The only side-effect I've ever had is that if I take diclofenac for more than a few days I come out in a rash.

dobby2001 Wed 03-Nov-10 23:25:20

Well I can tell you that diclofenic was restricted wehn it was on prescription as I had it for 2 prolapsed discs and due to the long waiting list to see the orthpedic surgeon my GP gave me regular prescriptions for it - like you i was taking it daily. One very embarressing day the pharmacist called me out in front of a crowd of people and asked me WHY i was taking it? When i flustered - not wanting to tell everyone my medical history, he added that they usually only gave out a limited number of prescriptions and i had exceeded that number - did I KNOW it was bad to take these painkillers long term? I was mortified but just never went there again so if I had been addiited it wasnt the best approach hmm

I also worked with a family when I was a social worker whose mother was addicted to Nurofen - would take 8-16 a day shock. had been doing it for years with all sorts of consequences,like having a fit in front of daughter and kidney damage. She said she would get a buzz or it would relax her. There is a support group here

8-16 tablets, or 8-16 400mg doses?

I never take more than the maximum recommended on the packet ie 3 x 400mg doses of ibuprofen. If I need something stronger I take diclofenac. If the pain is chronic, rather than acute, ie whenI would automatically take a dose with my breakfast, I take the delayed-release version of ibuprofen so my maximum daily dose is even less, 2 x 400mg.

It doesn't give me a buzz, or even 'relax' me. I'm pretty sure I'm not addicted. (But thanks, dobby smile)

dobby2001 Wed 03-Nov-10 23:43:11

Sorry pretty wasnt suggesting you were,just trying to satisfy your curiosity smile.

Not sure as it was a few years back but i think it was 8-16 tablets, but it was the nurfen extra strength ones so something like 4-8 times recommended dose shock it made me think just how much the safe level must have been shock

lazymumofteenagesons Thu 04-Nov-10 18:54:03

If you are taking the 'extra' ones then they can be addictive cos they have codeine in them. I'd be more worried about what they were doing to my stomach lining.

The safe level is definitely higher than the dosage instructions imply. My MIL, for example, has double-strength ibuprofen tablets on prescription and takes two at a time. She is always pedantically careful to warn me of this if she gives me one, to make sure that I don't take the standard two tablets.

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