Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are oral medications that relieve pain or reduce inflammation. They are often used to relieve symptoms of headaches, painful periods, sprains and strains, colds and flu, arthritis, and other causes of long-term pain. NSAIDs block a specific enzyme called cyclooxygenase used by the body to make prostaglandins. The most popular examples of these classes of drugs are ibuprofen and aspirin. They are taken generally for mild to moderate forms of pain resulting from conditions involving pains and aches. In most cases, they can be purchased over the counter at a local pharmacy. There are a few instances in which you may not be able to buy NSAIDs over the counter, such as if you have a heart or kidney condition, require a prescription for them, or are pregnant.
When taken as directed, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain by reducing inflammation and controlling the inflammation response in your body. This helps to control your body's natural defenses from injury and disease. For example, NSAIDs relieve inflammation of muscles when you have a sore throat. They also reduce inflammation of the membranes in your joints, so they help to prevent osteoarthritis from happening.
Other uses for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include treating arthritic pain, healing gouty aches, and treating the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Long-term use of NSAIDs may result in stomach ulcers, increased risk of bleeding ulcers, or other complications. Some side effects of NSAIDs include stomach ulcer, upset stomach, or loss of taste. Because NSAIDs can be metabolized by the liver, people with liver problems should avoid taking NSAIDs. Also, while NSAIDs relieve pain and swelling, they can also be absorbed through mucous membranes and enter your bloodstream.
There are many side effects associated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They can include loss of thirst, vomiting, heartburn, stomach upset, allergic skin reactions, nervousness, headache, muscle weakness, dizziness, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and more. Of course, these are just some of the minor side effects. Some people experience more serious problems and these include the following: depression, allergic reaction, difficulty breathing, rashes, hives, itching and swelling of the face and lips, ringing in the ears, trouble swallowing and a high fever. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a kidney disease, you need to avoid NSAIDs.
The risk for heart disease is greatly increased with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and when taken with other drugs, they can result in serious side effects like diluting depression, making it impossible to cope up with daily demands. This will leave a person weak, fatigued, and even more likely to have a heart attack. In addition to this, once you stop taking them, you will experience a relapse of your condition. There is no evidence that stopping NSAIDs in its entirety will prevent a heart attack or any other kind of major medical problem. Taking high doses over long periods of time can also lead to kidney failure.