We tend to think of over-the-counter painkillers as perfectly safe. 

But even these drugs do have risks, so it’s important to follow the instructions about how to take them. And if you have an ulcer, you need to be very careful before popping over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers. Many common ones can irritate the stomach lining, aggravating ulcers and potentially causing serious problems.

“People think that if a medicine is available over-the-counter, it has no risks,” says Byron Cryer, MD, a spokesman for the American Gastroenterological Association. “But about a third of all ulcers are caused by aspirin and other painkillers. More than half…


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