Most of us are guilty of popping a handful of over-the-counter cold medications without so much as reading the label when we’re feeling congested, achy, or otherwise terrible. Those with kids might do the same in order to help their little ones feel better. Unfortunately, many common cold medications are a lot less safe than you think. Disrupted sleep, dependency, and toxicity are all on the table. In serious cases, common drugs can be fatal. If these cold medications line your bathroom cabinet, you might want to rethink your options.
Known generically as ibuprofen, this painkiller is one of the most common cold medications people reach for when they’re feeling crummy.
While Advil and similar medications have been generally regarded as safe for quite a while, the FDA took a firmer stance against NSAIDs in 2015 after reviewing data concerning the association between these cold medications and heart disease. Not all studies have come to the same conclusion, but one eye-catching review involving more than 116,000 patients found NSAIDs greatly increase the odds of a cardiovascular event. Ibuprofen in particular was singled out for bearing the highest association with stroke incidence.