Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – uses, health risks, and side effects at NaturalPedia.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 by

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a drug class used to relieve or reduce pain. NSAIDs include some of the most common pain relief drugs in the world – aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen – and are used by around 30 million people in the U.S. every day. In conventional medicine, NSAIDs are given for less severe types of pain and most are available over the counter (OTC). In general, people use NSAIDs for typical aches and pains, including cramps, fever, and swelling.

NSAIDs work by reducing inflammation – which is partly one of the reasons for pain. To note, inflammation is a body’s response to infection and injury, and signs usually include heat, redness, swelling, and pain. If a person takes an NSAID, the drug will minimize inflammation on pain-nerve stimulation and sensitivity, which also affects heat and swelling brought about by the response.

This activity is the same for all NSAIDs, despite their different classes. In particular, aspirin has potent anti-clotting properties and is used to prevent arterial blockage, which can lead to a stroke or even heart attacks.

Some conditions where NSAIDs are prescribed include:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic back pain
  • Colds or flu
  • Headaches
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Bone and joint injuries
  • Muscle pain
  • Toothaches

In the case of colds and flu, NSAIDs do not directly affect the virus and are used to relieve some of the symptoms.

Known health risks or side effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Multiple risks are associated with taking NSAIDs. In some people, the drug can result in severe or even life-threatening gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding or ulcers. They can also increase the likelihood of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases when the drugs are used for a long period. For older adults, especially those over the age of 60, these can exacerbate hypertension and cause kidney damage.

The risk of severe side effects from NSAID use is increased by the following conditions.

  • Hypertension
  • Pre-existing liver or kidney condition
  • Asthma
  • Ulcers, GI bleeding, Crohn’s disease, and other disorders of the digestive tract

Those who are under medication for a different condition or take recreational drugs are also likely to have side effects while on NSAIDs.

Common adverse reactions when taking NSAIDs include:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Gastric pain
  • Nausea, sometimes vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Headaches and dizziness

People who experience the following conditions should seek medical attention right away.

  • Swelling in the face, ankle, and extremities
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Itching
  • Severe rash or hives
  • Red, peeling skin
  • Bruising and bleeding
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Blurred vision
  • Intense stomach pain, and vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Difficulty breathing or having an unusual cough
  • Abnormally fast heartbeat and chest pain
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Lethargy
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Photosensitivity

Pregnant women on their third trimester are discouraged from using NSAIDs as this may result in complications in their newborn.

List of organs that might be affected by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

NSAIDs can negatively affect the cardiovascular system, the kidneys and liver, and even the digestive tract.

Food items or nutrients that have similar effects to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

People who regularly take NSAIDs can turn to the following anti-inflammatory and analgesic herbs that have been shown to be more effective than most OTC drugs for pain.

  • Turmeric. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is known to effectively reduce pain and inflammation by blocking NF-KB signals from traveling the inflammatory pathway and triggering a response.
  • Ginger. A powerful anti-inflammatory spice that has been used for thousands of years, multiple studies have shown that ginger promotes anti-inflammation pathways and speeds up healing.
  • Boswellia. This herb, used in Ayurveda, can be used for pain relief and reducing inflammation. It has a biological activity comparable with NSAIDs, without the adverse side effects.

Treatment and management options for the side effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

There are natural treatment approaches to pain and inflammation that could be used as an alternative for NSAIDs. These include:

  • Relaxation techniques like meditation or long baths
  • Deep-brain stimulation
  • Acupuncture

To manage lower back pain, adjusting elements of the workplace (i.e., the positioning of chairs and desks, avoiding heavy lifting, and potential changes to working hours) can be made.

Where to learn more

Summary

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve or reduce pain.

NSAIDs include some of the most common pain relief drugs in the world.

NSAIDs are given for less severe types of pain and most are available over the counter (OTC).

NSAIDs increase the likelihood of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases when the drugs are used for a long period.

NSAIDs damage the cardiovascular system, the kidneys and liver, and even the digestive tract.

Sources include:

MedicalNewsToday.com 1

MedicalNewsToday.com 2

EverydayHealth.com

GreenHealingNow.com



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