Painkillers, aspirin & gastritis

Painkillers, aspirin & gastritis

It will not be for this reason alone, it is clear.  But cases of gastritis are on the rise – a figure that affects the entire world population – also due to the abuse of drugs.  In particular of anti-inflammatories.

Gastric lesions from anti-inflammatories are actually becoming a problem, because patients often take them thinking that, being over the counter drugs, they are substantially risk-free.  It is not so, and those who take them for long periods should always associate gastroprotectants.

The University of Liverpool reports that the Helicobacter Pylori bacterium, for a long time was probably the main cause of gastritis cases.  But the pathology is increasing.  And it is on the rise due to the use, often out of control, of anti-inflammatories also used to bring down a fever or to soothe headaches and other inflammatory symptoms.  Let’s add that acetylsalicylic acid (the common aspirin), in doses lower than 325 milligrams per day, is increasingly used to reduce cardiovascular risk.

According to the Liverpool research coordinator, Crispin Musumba, in the sample of patients with gastritis that was the subject of the research, 57% made regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;  33% took the so-called aspirin.  And Helicobacter infection was found in one in three gastric ulcers.  Attention, therefore, to abuse also to that drugs usually perceived as without contraindications: as usual, it is common sense to have to meet us and not to make us forget that any substance we take will naturally have associated risks.

The drugs we ingest are generally metabolized (i.e. transformed) by the liver.  This means that, in cases of overdose or interaction with other particular molecules or individual conditions, intoxication phenomena can occur. 
One of the most common cases of overdose is that of paracetamol (Tachipirina®), usually used as a first self-medication to lower fever.  The toxic effects of paracetamol have been known for decades.  Pracetamol is a powerful oxidizing drug and consumes the stocks of our most important antioxidant: glutathione.  When this molecule is scarce, paracetamol carries out its powerful hepatotoxic action “.  Yet paracetamol is still recommended even today for small children and infants, even though they know that they are low in antioxidants (such as glutathione). However, liver toxicity can also be linked to other active ingredients metabolised by the liver, such as the antibiotics rifampicin and isoniazid, used in anti-tuberculosis therapy.
Another problem is then the unpredictable reactions due to individual sensitivity, that is, to the fact that each of us has a different ability to metabolize medicines.  These are reactions that can strike with any drug: hepatitis from nimesulide (Aulin®), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), or those due to the intake of the antibiotic amoxicillin with clavulanic acid, one of the most common antibiotics, are quite well known  used by both doctors and dentists.
Another factor that makes it difficult to recognize the symptoms of a liver disease is that the liver has a good recovery ability, so the symptoms are often mild or very common, such as tiredness, nausea, fever and skin reactions.  However, these symptoms are the first signs that the body gives us to communicate that something is wrong.  It is therefore quite difficult to relate intoxication to the use of a drug and, precisely for this reason, drug liver diseases are still underestimated.

Here are some rules to follow in order not to poison the liver:

  • Do not take medicines without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Take over-the-counter medications for a few days only, contacting your doctor if they do not work.
  • Comply with medical prescriptions without increasing or reducing doses.

Do not abandon therapies necessary for fear of side effects on the liver, the doctor takes into account the risk-benefit ratio when prescribing a therapy.

  • If sporadic use is made of medicines, check the values of the main liver enzymes.

(ALT, AST, alkaline phosphatase, GGT) once a year with a blood test.

  • If you are following chronic therapy, do liver enzyme tests

After 4-6 weeks from the beginning of the treatment and then repeat them on a regular basis, as indicated by the doctor or every 6 months.

  • Children under 4 years of age

In whom the liver is not yet mature, and the elderly, who have a slowed metabolism and are often forced to take more than one drug, are at greater risk of liver damage from drugs.  In this case, pay attention to the dosages, which differ from those expected for an adult.

  • All patients with liver diseases

Such as “fatty liver” (hepatic steatosis), are also at risk because metabolic reactions take place already with less efficacy.

  • The signs of liver drug intoxication may be missing or be mild and nonspecific.

However, attention should be paid to symptoms of malaise such as tiredness, nausea, fever if you are taking drugs or have recently taken them.

  • When taking a drug, it is useful to write down the beginning and end of the treatment

Some drug liver diseases appear weeks or months after taking the drug.

In conclusion How is liver disease resolved?

In most cases, the only therapy involves eliminating the drug that causes toxicity.  It is useful in these cases to keep what you eat under control, certainly eliminating from your diet fatty foods and alcohol that can further strain the liver.

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2 Responses

  1. The liver is a very important organ, so sensitive that it is affected by numerous inflammatory processes, drugs, genetic alterations, industrial toxic substances and even some natural elements.

    1. I recently noticed the appearance of hematomas on the face and chest. I am worried because I had hepatitis C 10 years ago but I treated it. I am terrified to discover that I am still dealing with this problem

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