Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) News

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are often called NSAIDs, are a very common type of drug, available both over-the-counter and, in stronger form, by prescription. Ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin are all NSAIDs.

NSAIDs are often thought of as pain-relieving drugs. And, though this is one of their effects, they also do much more.

What NSAIDs Do

Inside the body, NSAIDs block the action of cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that has two forms, COX-1 and COX-2. This allows NSAIDs to relieve pain. But NSAIDs also can reduce fevers and decrease the blood’s ability to clot, which can be good or bad depending on a person’s needs. Aspirin, for example, might be protective against heart disease due to this effect. But, people often need to stop taking NSAIDs before some medical procedures to avoid bleeding problems.

One type of NSAID, celecoxib, is what's known as a COX-2 inhibitor, meaning it only blocks the action of the COX-2 enzyme. It's available by prescription and should not be taken along with a traditional NSAID.


Though generally considered safe drugs, NSAIDs do carry some risks. Known side effects include stomach upset, swelling, high blood pressure, rashes and kidney or heart problems. Pregnant women are usually advised to avoid taking NSAIDs, and they can pose risks for people older than 65, too. NSAIDs also can interact with other medications so it’s important for people to talk with their doctor about all their medications before starting to take NSAIDs.

SOURCES: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Rheumatology

Date Posted
Article Title
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Injections were rated slightly more effective at fighting pain than pills

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However, NSAIDs should not be taken in third trimester of pregnancy, authors advise

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Dogs and cats can suffer deadly side effects from common over-the-counter drugs

High Doses of Common Painkillers May Raise Risk for Heart Trouble

Review found chances were greatest in those who took NSAIDs and had a history of cardiovascular disease

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Expert says NSAIDs are overused for treating kids with fever

Health Tip: Should You Take NSAIDs?

If you meet any of these criteria, speak to your doctor first

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Large, decade-long study also found some benefit from other NSAIDs

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Over-the-counter, prescription 'NSAID' meds appeared to lower risk in Danish patients

Codeine After Surgery Could Endanger Certain Kids: Study

In children with rare gene mutation, post-tonsillectomy death seemed to be due to reaction to pain medicine

Ibuprofen May Ward Off Altitude Sickness

Hikers who took the medication were less likely to have symptoms of 'acute mountain sickness'

New Therapy Might Help Relieve Painful Foot Condition

Preliminary study suggests it could work in hard-to-treat cases of plantar fasciitis

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Medication appeared least effective treatment in small study

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Daily Aspirin May Help Prevent Colon Cancer for Those at High Risk

People with Lynch syndrome, a hereditary form of cancer, might benefit from 2 tablets a day: study

Can NSAIDs Cut Colorectal Cancer Deaths in Older Women?

Consistent use of aspirin, ibuprofen associated with about 30% lower death rate, study found

NSAID Painkillers Linked to Risk of Kidney Cancer

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NSAIDs May Raise Miscarriage Risk: Study

Taking the painkillers in early stages of pregnancy more than doubled chances, researchers say

Certain Painkillers May Raise Odds of Stroke, Heart Attack: Study

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Painkillers May Raise Risk of Dangerous Heart Flutter

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Taking it most days of the week for years might increase risk, researchers say

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