My post, Experimenting on the Rich, brought up a couple of trends in which the whole population is now experimenting on the rich, and I could have also have said we’re experimenting on the trendy for the points brought up.
Yes, collecting data on possible brain cancers brought about by cell phone use could be called experimenting on the trendy. Also, collecting data on laser eye surgery could also be called experimenting on the trendy.
Aren’t the headache and pain remedies we use also subject to trends? For a long time, Tylenol was the king of headache remedies, before that , Aspirin was.
We’ve been experimenting on those trends and it seems like we have some data on Tylenol that is going to change behaviours again.
A pair of studies suggests that early use of Tylenol increases the risk of a childhood asthma and asthma like events. The studies showed this might go all the way up to the teen years. It’s been known in medicine for many years that the incidence of childhood asthma has increased quite a bit over the years. Which environmental factor or factors are responsible had been a total mystery until now.
So what do we do, all throw away the Tylenol? Maybe not quite so fast. Firstly these are preliminary studies. But more importantly Tylenol still has its use.
Tylenol is still considered the safest pain reliever for a pregnant mother. In fact this might be why Tylenol got so popular. Maybe the thinking was ‘it’s best for me and my growing fetus – perhaps it’s the best pain reliever for the life of me and the child.’
For nursing mothers, the best over the counter pain reliever is Ibuprofen because it is not excreted into breast milk. Therefore there is little risk to the baby.
For kids and infants, now that Tylenol might be out it should also be known that aspirin is out, too, because of the possibility of getting Reyes syndrome when under 16. I remember they used to have children’s aspirin that was chewable and would take it when young. This was another trend that died after the data was collected. The other NSAIDs, like ibuprofen can be used in childhood.
As for other adults, I guess you’re on your own when choosing over the counter pain relief. It might come down to side effects or drug interactions so you should do the research and you should decide.
So it seems that not one of today’s over the counter pain relievers is good in all cases. Instead, it seems that each has its specialty. And maybe that’s good. Perhaps following a trend when it has to do with your health is not the best thing to do. But then again the trendiness of patients does lead to hard data about side effects.