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Anti Inflammatory | Med-Health.net

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Anti Inflammatory Drugs: Usage & Cautions

Anti-inflammatory drugs are substances used in the treatment of inflammation to reduce swelling. Many anti inflammatory drugs are used as analgesics or pain relievers, which work by reducing inflammation. On the other hand, opioids are anti inflammatory medicines that reduce pain by acting on your central nervous system.

Here is some information about common drugs that have anti inflammatory effects and how to use them.

When to Use Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs are also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to distinguish them from steroid-based drugs, which also have anti inflammatory properties.

NSAIDs are medications widely used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions characterized by the following:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation, swelling, and redness
  • Fever

Common acute conditions that are treated with NSAIDs include:

  • Headache
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Toothaches
  • Sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries
  • Common infections, such as colds or flu

NSAIDs can also be used to treat common chronic conditions such as:

  • Arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of inflammatory arthritis  
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Chronic back pain

Most Commonly Used Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

There are many drugs in the market with anti inflammatory properties. These anti inflammatory drugs may be prescribed by your doctor or bought off the shelves without any prescription.

Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDs that are available over-the-counter are generally safe and effective when taken as directed. Here are a few examples:

Generic

Brands

aspirin   

Ascriptin, Bayer, Ecotrin

ibuprofen

Advil, Motrin

naproxen sodium

Aleve

Prescription Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Some anti inflammatory drugs need a doctor’s prescription. Here are some examples:

Generic

Brands

celecoxib

Celebrex

etodolac             

Lodine

diflunisal     

Dolobid

diclofenac   

Voltaren

piroxicam           

Feldene

fenoprofen

Nalfon

diclofenac+misoprostol   

Arthrotec

indomethacin

Indocin 

ketorolac tromethamine

Toradol 

meloxicam

Mobic

flurbiprofen 

Ansaid

naproxen

Anaprox, Naprosyn

naproxen+esomeprazole

Vimovo

nabumetone               

Relafen

oxaprozin

Daypro

salsalate

Disalcid

tolmetin

TolectinDS

sulindac

Clinoril

Possible Side Effects of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Most NSAIDs are reasonably safe, but it is important to be aware of their potential side effects. Anti inflammatory drugs have warnings on their labels regarding the risks of side effects, including stomach bleeding, heart attack, and stroke.

The safest way to use NSAIDs is to use them at low doses for brief periods only. Side effects usually occur if you take large doses over a long time (several months/years). Most side effects are mild and may go away on their own by reducing your dose. However, some side effects are more serious and may need medical attention. The most common NSAID side effects include:

  • Heart burnor stomach pain
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Allergic reactions (rashes, wheezing, throat swelling)
  • Leg swelling
  • High blood pressure

Bleeding tendency, especially with aspirin. You may be asked to stop taking NSAIDs before having surgery. Consult your doctor before taking anti inflammatory medicines if you are taking blood-thinning medications (ex. Coumadin).

Ringing in the ears, especially with aspirin. Reducing the dose improves this side effect.

Liver/kidney problems. People who take NSAIDS for long periods must have blood tests taken to check for liver/kidney damage. People with kidney disease should not take anti inflammatory drugs without their doctor’s advice.

Caution: Do Not Take Anti-Inflammatory Drugs If You…

Consult your doctor and be cautious about taking anti inflammatory drugs if you have the following conditions:

  • Known allergies to anti inflammatory drugs
  • Increased tendency for stomach bleeding
  • Stomach problems, such as heartburn
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Kidney disease
  • Asthma
  • On diuretic medication

Note: Do not give aspirin to children under age 16 unless prescribed by a doctor.