NSAIDs relieve pain. They also reduce swelling and inflammation caused by an injury or a disease such as
How Well It Works
NSAIDs help relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis. But they do not slow the disease process.1
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Do not use a nonprescription NSAID for longer than 10 days without talking to your doctor.
NSAIDs are strong medicines. The actions they take in your body to help one condition can cause problems in other ways. NSAIDs may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, skin reactions, and serious stomach and intestinal bleeding.
These risks are greater if you take NSAIDs at higher doses or for longer periods than recommended.
People who are older than 65 or who have existing heart, stomach, kidney, liver, or intestinal disease are more likely to have problems.
Do not take NSAIDs if you have had
allergic reaction to this type of medicine in the
past. If you have been told to avoid a medicine, talk to your doctor before you
Talk to your doctor before taking NSAIDs if you
Allergies to aspirin or other pain relievers.
Ulcers or a history of bleeding in your
stomach or intestines.
Stomach pain, upset stomach, or heartburn
that lasts or comes back.
If you take NSAIDs regularly, your doctor may recommend
that you also take a medicine such as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). These
medicines can help protect the stomach lining.2
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.