NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and are the most common pain relief medications in the world. People use them for various aches and pains on a regular basis, but NSAIDs can also treat fever and work to reduce swelling in patients who take the NSAID medications.
NSAIDs work to treat the symptoms for which patients take them by blocking enzymes that cause the inflammation. NSAIDs are Cox-1 and Cox-2 inhibitors. Common NSAIDs include Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen (Actron or Orudis) and Naproxen (Aleve) are available over the counter without prescription. Other NSAIDs such as Daypro, Indocin, Lodine, Naprosyn, Relafen, and Voltaren are available with a prescription from a physician.
The Cox-2 inhibitors Bextra and Vioxx are not available any longer because of concerns about side effects from the medications, where are Celebrex is still available.
NSAIDs Warnings and Precautions
Patients should tell their physician or pharmacist of their complete medical history. Patients with a history of allergic reactions to NSAID pain relievers should not take NSAIDs or should discuss the possible reactions with their physician
Patients with a history of bleeding ulcers of the stomach or intestines, stomach pain, upset stomach or reoccurring heartburn, anemia or easy bleeding or bruising should discuss their risks with their physician. Additionally patients who drink more than three alcoholic beverages a day or high blood pressure, or kidney, liver or heart disease should talk with their physician about their risk of increased stomach bleeding or worsening kidney, liver or heart disease.
Patients take NSAIDs to relieve common aches and pains such as headaches, muscle aches, backaches, menstrual cramps, mouth pain, arthritis and basic injuries that cause inflammation. NSAIDs are also effective in reducing fever and can treat minor aches and pains that are symptoms of the common cold and flu.
NSAIDs Side Effects
Most people tolerate NSAIDs very well, but there is a risk of side effects that patients should be aware of when they are taking the anti-inflammatories. Common side effects of NSAIDs include rash, ringing of the ears, dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn or abdominal pain.
NSAIDs can increase bleeding after an injury because they can reduce the ability of the body to form clots. Ibuprofen can also cause ulcerations in the stomach or intestine that can become bleeding ulcers. Ulcers can occur without abdominal pain so patients should be aware of symptoms of ulcers. The symptoms of bleeding ulcers include black or tarry stools, weakness and dizziness upon standing.