Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are drugs with analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects .i.e. reducing pain, fever and inflammation.
The most common traditional NSAIDs include:
· Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Motrin IB)
· Naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve)
· Nabumetone (Relafen)
There are three main categories of NSAIDs, which include:
· traditional NSAIDs
· COX-2 selective inhibitors
How do they work?
NSAIDs work by preventing an enzyme from performing its function. An enzyme is a protein that triggers changes in the body. The enzyme, known as COX (cyclooxygenase) has two forms, COX- 1 and COX-2.
COX-1 protects the stomach lining from harsh acids and digestive chemicals; it also helps maintain kidney function. Meanwhile, COX-2 is produced when joints are injured or inflamed.
Since traditional NSAIDs block the actions of both, COX-1 and COX-2, the chances of stomach disorders and bleeding really increase.
NSAIDs are primarily used to treat inflammation, mild to moderate pain and fever. Other specific uses include treatment of headaches, arthritis, sports injuries and relief form menstrual cramps.
Conditions like bursitis and tendonitis also find relief from NSAIDs. Moreover, at times low-dose NSAIDs may also be prescribed for cardiac disease.
In addition, certain NSAIDs like aspirin are used to inhibit blood clotting and prevent strokes and heart attacks in individuals at high risk. Many cold and allergy preparations also have an NSAID ingredient.
Besides, NSAIDs also help considerably in the treatment of back pain, sciatica, rheumatism, dental pain, gout attacks, postoperative pain and migraine headaches.
NSAIDs have a vast range of possible side effects, though some of them occur quite rarely. Here we list some of the most common side effects of NSAIDs:
· Severe nausea and heartburn
· Bloody or black tarry stools
· Vomiting blood
· Recurrent nose bleeds
· Easy and severe bruising
· Sudden weight gain
· High blood pressure