What are NSAID Medications?

You may have heard NSAIDs from your doctor or pharmacist. NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used to treat musculoskeletal disorders. Mainly used to alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Pain.  Pain caused by muscle stretching, sprains, headaches, migraines, and dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps).
  • Fever.  NSAIDs can also reduce body temperature.
  • Inflammation. NSAIDs are often used to relieve inflammation in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The most commonly used NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen. These drugs are usually found at local pharmacies and can be purchased without a doctor's prescription. For stronger NSAIDs, you will need a prescription from a doctor. It is important to discuss with your doctor if a stronger NSAID is right for you.

How do NSAIDs work?

What are NSAID Medications?

You might wonder how this drug works. We will explain to you how NSAIDs can help relieve pain and fever.

Usually, your body produces chemicals called prostaglandins to heal damaged tissue, protect your stomach lining from acid and support platelet blood clots. Prostaglandins are produced by an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which consists of two types: COX I and COX II. Both COX enzymes are responsible for increasing inflammation and fever while only COX I produces prostaglandins that protect the lining of the stomach and support the platelets.

NSAIDs work by blocking COX I and COX II. Because prostaglandins that protect the stomach lining and increase blood clotting are reduced, NSAIDs can potentially cause stomach ulcers and bleeding. It is recommended to take NSAIDs with food to avoid irritation of the stomach. COX II inhibitors are similar to NSAIDs. They work by blocking COX II to relieve pain and inflammation. These drugs include celecoxib and rofecoxib.

What should I know before using NSAIDs?

Before using NSAIDs you must know some of the risks of using NSAIDs. You can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke when you have heart disease and use this drug for a long time.

NSAIDs should not be used right before or after a heart operation called " coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)."

NSAID medications can cause ulcers and bleed in the stomach and intestines at any time during treatment. Ulcers and bleeding can occur without warning symptoms and in some cases can cause death. Your risk of bleeding and having an ulcer can increase if you:

  • Use it together with anticoagulants and corticosteroids
  • Smoke
  • Use NSAIDs for a long period of time
  • Drink alcohol
  • Elderly
  • Or have bad health

NSAIDs are not recommended for the following people:

  • Those with a history of a previous heart attack, stroke or heart failure.
  • People aged 75 years or older.
  • People with diabetes.
  • Smoker.
  • People with high blood pressure.
  • Asthma sufferers.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Have a history of significant kidney disease.
  • Have a history of the significant liver disease.
  • Have active heartburn (pain in the stomach lining), or have a high risk of heartburn.

If you have one of the conditions above, you should tell your doctor before using NSAIDs for your treatment.

NSAIDs should only be instructed by your doctor, with the lowest possible dose for your treatment, and for a short period of time as needed. For mild to moderate pain you can use it as a basic need.

Aspirin is an NSAID drug but does not increase the risk of heart attack. Aspirin can cause bleeding in the brain, stomach and intestines. Aspirin can also cause injuries to the stomach and intestines.

Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age unless recommended by a doctor. Also, some people with asthma may be exposed to attacks triggered by aspirin or NSAIDs. Please talk to your doctor before using the drug.

What are the side effects of NSAIDs?

Like other drugs, there are some unwanted side effects that can occur and you must know. Some serious side effects of NSAIDs include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure due to swelling of the body (fluid retention)
  • Kidney problems include kidney failure
  • Bleeding and wounds in the stomach and intestines
  • Low red blood cells (anemia)
  • Life-threatening skin reactions
  • Allergic allergic reactions
  • Liver problems include liver failure
  • Asthma attacks in people who have asthma

Some mild side effects from NSAIDs can include:

  • Stomach ache
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Mules
  • Nausea
  • Gag
  • Dizzy

When should you contact your doctor?

You should stop taking NSAID medication and contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting blood
  • There is blood in the stool
  • Unusual weight gain
  • Skin rash or blistering skin with fever
  • Swelling of the arms and legs, hands and feet

NSAIDs cannot be used for everyone. Please talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if NSAID is right for you.