You are indeed correct, yet differences such as these aren't really taken up by some in the population. A few years ago, if I was in throbbing pain, walking through the pharmacy, I wouldn't really have the time or energy (which is really bad and not thoughtful) to search the back labels or ask a pharmacist on whether I should be taking Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen or a placebo.
The point I was trying (maybe failing) to get at, was these drugs regardless of their chemical makeup, most of the time, some of us don't need them but we take the clutch anyway.
They are pain reliefs, not solutions to whatever the pain was caused by.
It does matter what the actual active ingredients of medication are, even in pain medication, whether the general population cares about that or not. These things really do have different properties and side effects, pain meds are not interchangeable.
But that shouldn't distract from your general point which I find hard to disagree with: pain medication is symptomatic relief. That doesn't make it irrelevant, but it doesn't mean people should ignore the underlying causes either. At the same time, these causes are sometimes idiopathic, (short term) unavoidable or (long term) untreatable.
A quote: "Hepatitis caused by ibuprofen is marked by abdominal pain and tenderness on the upper right side, dark-colored urine, diarrhea, headache, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, jaundice and white or clay-colored stool (NIH) ... The treatment for ibuprofen-induced liver damage is simply discontinuing use of the drug (NIH)."
So sayeth Captain Obvious.
To me, the problem is not prescription drugs that should be freely available, it's freely available drugs that should be prescription.
Another side effect of continual ibuprofen use is it interferes with the healing process. I have chronic neck/back pain (had some surgery over ten years ago) and was taking ibuprofen every day, my doc even prescribed some 800mg pills. Overtime I had noticed that small cuts on my hands and body took a long time to heal. I went to a lecture by a scientist who was researching the biology behind aging. She happened to mention that ibuprofen interferes with the healing process if taken long term. I quit taking it and now small cuts heal normally.
Is there a substance that you can't abuse? (Not even talking about alcohol, take sugar for example)
If you're exceeding 3200 mg/day of ibuprofen for long stretches of time, you're either seriously used to it, or have something quite serious. In which case it would be quite likely that you'd be getting ibuprofen as a prescription, if that were necessary (or something stronger and with more/worse side-effects).
Do you mean a substance that has no harmful or excessive dose? No, I don't think so. People have had aspirin from prehistoric times (obtained from willow bark), but aspirin has well-established dangers.
My reason for posting was to make people aware that this seemingly benign non-prescription drug can be dangerous.
> Not even talking about alcohol, take sugar for example.
Sugar is a great example of a substance that has all sorts of deleterious effects, from the time it enters you mouth and erodes your teeth, all the way through your system. The central paradox of modern times isn't what's illegal, but what's legal. :)
Apropos, try to guess where the most dangerous place is for the average person in modern times. Ready? The bedroom. And if you're married, the danger is much higher.