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An Overview of Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually prescribed to relieve pain, inflammation and stiffness. They are commonly administered in the treatment of arthritic conditions, they do not provide a cure of alter progress; therefore they are frequently prescribed alongside other drugs.

NSAIDs are effective in the relief of mild to moderate pain, and are commonly prescribed for certain types of back pain, menstrual pain, headaches, and pain resulting from soft tissue injuries.

Probably the strongest NSAID, and one of the oldest, is Phenylbutazone. Introduced in 1949, this drug has been illegally used to dope race horses. Phenylbutazone can impair the formation of red blood cells within the bone marrow; therefore it is no longer commonly prescribed, except maybe for relief of the pain, inflammation and stiffness involved in the condition known as Ankylosing Spondylitis.

NSAIDs are usually manufactured in tablet, capsule, and liquid form, or as a gel or cream for topical application. When swallowed, the drug is rapidly absorbed from the digestive system. The most common side effects are nausea, indigestion and changes in bowel activity. Topical NSAIDs produce little or no side effects.

NSAIDs are known to irritate the gastrointestinal tract and prolonged use can cause bleeding in the stomach and/or the duodenum. It is for this reason that NSAIDs are not normally prescribed for those with a history of peptic ulcers.

In some cases, when it is discovered that certain NSAIDs have created gastric problems, an enteric coated tablet can sometimes be prescribed. This enables the drug to be absorbed within the intestine, therefore avoiding complications within the stomach and duodenum.

NSAIDs can impair blood clotting, therefore they are not normally prescribed to those with a history of bleeding disorders, and they are prescribed with caution alongside other drugs that reduce blood clotting.

Commonly prescribed NSAIDs include:

Benorylate

Ibuprofen

Mefenamic Acid

Naproxen

Benorylate

Along with the relief of pain and swelling, Benorylate is effective in the reduction of the fever and discomfort experienced when suffering from influenza. It is manufactured in tablet and liquid form.

Dosage 4g – 8g daily

Common Side Effects

Nausea

Constipation or Diarrhoea

Indigestion

Heartburn

Rare Side Effects

Drowsiness

Dizziness

Rash

Jaundice

Wheezing

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen has fewer side effects than most other NSAIDs. It comes in tablet, capsule and liquid form, and as a cream for topical use.

Dosage 600mg – 2.4g daily

Common Side Effects

Nausea

Vomiting

Heartburn

Indigestion

Rare Side Effects

Rash

Wheezing

Breathlessness

Mefenamic Acid

Mefenamic Acid can be taken in tablet, capsule and liquid form, it is particularly effective in the treatment of menstrual pain, and it has an additional advantage in that it reduces menstrual bleeding.

Dosage 750mg – 1.5g daily

Common Side Effects

Indigestion

Diarrhoea

Rare Side Effects

Dizziness

Drowsiness

Nausea

Vomiting

Abdominal Pain

Rash

Wheezing

Breathlessness

Naproxen

Naproxen can be taken in tablet and liquid form, and it also manufactured as a powder, and as a suppository. It is sometimes prescribed to relieve the pain of migraines and is commonly administered following dental surgery. Naproxen carries an increase in the risk of gastric bleeding than other NSAIDs.

Dosage 500mg – 1250mg daily

Common Side Effects

Gastrointestinal disorders

Rare Side Effects

Headache

Dizziness

Drowsiness

Ringing in the ears

Swollen feet and/or ankles

Rash

Wheezing

Breathlessness

Other NSAIDs include:

Benzydamine

Delmeclofenamate

Diclofenac

Diflunisal

Felbinac

Fenbufen

Fenoprofen

Indomethasin

Ketoprofen

Meclofenamate

Phenylbutazone

Piroxicam

Sulindac

Tolmetin

If a rash appears when taking any NSAID, the drug should be stopped and the problem discussed with a doctor at the earliest opportunity. If wheezing, breathlessness or jaundice occurs then the drug should be stopped and a doctor contacted immediately.

Sources:

www.medinfo.co.uk