Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs, an abbreviation for nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, are commonly used to reduce fever, inflammation, mild pain and fevers. The term “non-steroidal” is used to distinguish these drugs from steroids which, among other things, have similar benefits. NSAIDs are non-narcodic and are, more specifically, usually used for treatment of headaches, sports injuries, arthritis, and menstrual cramps.

Common NSAIDs include over-the-counter medicines such as Asprin, Aleve (naproxin) and Motrin (ibuprofin). Asprin is unique in itself because it’s the only NSAID that inhibits the clotting of blood for a prolonged period of time (4 to 7 days), which makes it an ideal drug for preventing the blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes. Most other NSAIDs inhibit the clotting of blood for only a few hours. Contrary to popular belief, Tylenol (acetaminophen) is not an NSAID as it does not possess any significant anti-inflammatory properties.

For the most part, NSAIDs are considered relatively safe and do not require a prescription. However, since NSAIDs work by blocking Cox enzymes and reducing prostaglandins throughout the body, stomach ulcers and reduced blood clotting can be a side effect. Some other mild side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, rash, dizziness, headache, and drowsiness. In extreme cases, kidney failure, liver failure, ulcers and prolonged bleeding after an injury or surgery could occur. People with asthma are at a higher risk for experiencing serious allergic reactions to NSAIDs, and in children it has been found not effective at safe dosages so it’s not recommended for use with either of those groups.

October 24th, 2007 • mdvaldosta • Medications and Drugs No Comments »

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