Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
are used to relieve pain and fever and to reduce swelling and inflammation caused
by injury or diseases such as arthritis. Aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen
are commonly used NSAIDs.
NSAIDs may cause side effects. The most common are
stomach upset, heartburn, and nausea. NSAIDs may irritate the stomach lining. If the
medicine upsets your stomach, you can try taking it with food. But if that doesn't
help, talk with your doctor to make sure it's not a more serious problem.
or long-term use of NSAIDs may lead to stomach ulcers or high blood pressure. They
can also cause a severe allergic reaction.
NSAIDs have the potential to
increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, skin reactions, and serious stomach and
intestinal bleeding. These risks are greater if NSAIDs are taken at higher doses or
for longer periods than recommended.
Aspirin, unlike other NSAIDs, can help
certain people lower their risk of a heart attack or stroke. But taking aspirin isn't
right for everyone, because it can cause serious bleeding. Talk to your doctor before
you start taking aspirin every day.
Because aspirin can increase the risk
of bleeding, it is not recommended for new injuries. Take other medicines such as
ibuprofen or naproxen for the first 2 or 3 days after an injury.
should be taken exactly as prescribed or according to the label. Taking a larger dose
or taking the medicine longer than recommended can increase the risk of dangerous
Talk to your doctor about whether NSAIDs are right for you. People
who are older than 65 or who have existing heart, stomach, kidney, liver, or intestinal
disease are at higher risk for problems. For other people, the benefits may outweigh
Aspirin should not be given to anyone younger than 20 because
of the risk of Reye syndrome, a rare but serious disease.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Robert
B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics & Kathleen Romito,
MD - Family Medicine
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
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