Read articles written by experts in pain management. These short explanations of pain conditions and treatments can help you understand chronic pain. Illustrations and photographs are included.

Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD
By Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD

What are Nonsteroidal, Anti-inflammatory Drugs?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs, provide pain relief and reduce fever and in higher doses provide anti-inflammatory effects. Some of these are available over the counter such as aspirin, Advil, and Aleve. Others are prescription drugs. NSAIDs are used for the treatment of a wide variety of acute and chronic painful conditions, specifically when there is inflammation. They are very safe drugs, but have significant side effects with gastrointestinal irritation, bleeding, or even death. NSAIDs can also cause kidney and cardiovascular problems.

In July 2015, the FDA toughened its warnings concerning the increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with NSAIDs, except for aspirin. Remember: just because NSAIDs are available over-the-counter, they are still drugs with side effects and they can harm you when they are not used appropriately.

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