Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are taken daily by millions of Americans. Because they are available without a prescription most people believe they are completely safe. Research has suggested, however, that such analgesics may cause a range of side effects, including high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and colon or kidney cancer. Men who use such pain relievers regularly are at a greater risk of hearing loss. Now results from the Nurses’ Health Study II suggest that women may also develop hearing loss if they take acetaminophen or ibuprofen on a regular basis. The investigators suggest that middle-aged women worried about hearing loss might not want to rely heavily on such medications for joint pain, menstrual cramps, backache or headache.
[American Journal of Epidemiology, Oct. 1, 2012]