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Menstrual Cramps and PMS Medication Guide (cont.)

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What are some guidelines for the safe use of OTC products for menstrual cramps and PMS?

  1. Always read the labels and know the ingredients in the products. Never take more than the recommended doses without checking with your doctor first.
  2. Aspirin and NSAIDs can cause ulcers and should be avoided by patients with known peptic ulcer disease or reflux esophagitis. They can also increase the risk of bleeding and should be avoided by women with certain blood diseases. Women who are scheduled for elective surgeries should inform their doctors that they are taking aspirin or NSAIDs. The doctor may ask them to withhold these medications for a period of time prior to the elective surgeries.
  3. True aspirin allergy is rare. True aspirin allergy leads to hives, difficulty breathing, and/or shock within 3 hours of taking aspirin. Aspirin allergy is most common among individuals who have asthma, hives, and nasal polyps. Individuals with true aspirin allergy should also avoid NSAIDs because they are chemically similar to aspirin.
  4. Aspirin (and many other medications and some vitamins) can increase the blood thinning effect of the blood-thinning medication warfarin (Coumadin) and can dangerously increase the risk of bleeding. Patients taking warfarin to prevent strokes and other blood clots should not use prescription or OTC medications for menstrual cramps or PMS without first checking with the doctor supervising their warfarin dosages.
  5. Most healthy adults tolerate aspirin and NSAIDs well, but some may develop side effects such as headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, heartburn, poor appetite, constipation, or diarrhea. Taking these drugs with food can decrease the stomach upset and heartburn.
  6. Ammonium chloride, an OTC diuretic, is an acid that can cause stomach upset in high doses. It can also cause an excess accumulation of acid (acidosis) in the blood of patients with kidney and liver disease.
  7. Caffeine is a diuretic and a stimulant. It can cause restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia. Nervousness, irritability, and nausea can occur if caffeine-containing foods and beverages are consumed concurrently. Women taking certain asthma medications such as aminophylline or theophylline (Respbid, Slo-Bid, Theo-24, Theoair) should also avoid caffeine.

Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology

REFERENCE: MedscapeReference. Dysmenorrhea.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2014

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Menstrual Cramps and PMS - Symptoms Question: Describe your symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Menstrual Cramps and PMS - Treatments Question: What kinds of treatment, including lifestyle changes, have helped you deal with PMS?
Menstrual Cramps and PMS - Experiences Question: At what age did you start to get cramps? Describe your history and experience with menstrual cramps.
Menstrual Cramps and PMS - Medication Question: What medications have you tried for menstrual cramps? What works, and what doesn't?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/menstrual_cramps_and_pms_medication_guide/article.htm

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