Painkiller warning: Sign in your poo that is a ‘dangerous’ side effect of a common drug

Dr Zoe Williams reveals painkiller overuse can cause headaches

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Diclofenac is a drug that reduces swelling and pain. It’s usually used to tackle aches and pains, as well as issues with muscles, bones and joints. And it comes in the form of tablets, capsules and suppositories that are only available on prescription.

However, diclofenac gel and plasters used for joint pain can be bought from pharmacies.

It can also be given as an injection or eyedrop in hospital.

According to the NHS, the “usual” dose is 75mg to 150mg a day.

It says: “Follow your doctor’s advice on how many tablets to take, and how many times a day.”

Taking more diclofenac than you are prescribed could be “dangerous,” the health service warns.

One deadly side effect of taking too much is having black poo or blood in the vomit – because this is a sign of bleeding in the stomach.

If you have taken too much the NHS advises calling 111.

Other side effects of this include a stomach ache, feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, headaches, drowsiness and tinnitus.

The NHS also recommends taking the lowest dose of diclofenac “for the shortest time to control your symptoms”.

It adds: “Take diclofenac tablets or capsules with a meal or snack, or just after eating.

“Common side effects are stomach pain, feeling or being sick and rashes.

“Diclofenac gel and plasters can be used twice a day to target pain in a particular area of your body.”

Diclofenac tablets or capsules should be taken with a meal, snack or a drink such as milk.

This will make them less likely to upset or irritate your stomach.

Other conditions diclofenac is used for are:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Sprains and strains in muscles and ligaments
  • Back pain
  • Toothache
  • Migraine
  • Gout
  • Ankylosing spondylitis – this causes inflammation of the spine and other parts of the body.

Certain people should not take diclofenac, including if you have ever had an allergic reaction to diclofenac or any other medicines.

It is also not suitable for people who:

  • Have ever had stomach ulcers, bleeding in the stomach or intestines, or a hole in your Stomach
  • Have high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Have heart failure, severe liver disease or kidney disease
  • Have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Have lupus
  • Have a blood clotting disorder
  • Are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.

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