Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are NSAIDs?"
I read about them in the newspaper. Should I be taking them to maintain health?
NSAIDs stand for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs are drugs that are typically used to treat mild pain. Examples of NSAIDs that you have probably heard of are Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), Naproxen (Alieve), Aspirin, and many others. Many of them can be purchased over the counter and used for pain, headaches, fevers etc. The advantages of NSAIDs is that they treat the source of pain, the inflammation. They are very effective and not habit forming. Aspirin can also be used in certain people to help prevent heart attacks. The disadvantages of them come from their side effects. If NSAIDs are taken at too high of a dose for too long, they can cause stomach ulcers. If NSAIDs are taken regularly for years, they can cause kidney damage. Finally, because they can inhibit blood clotting, they can cause bleeding. Thus, while NSAIDs are great drugs for pain to be used every once in a while, they should not be taken regularly or to maintain health. This is a great question to pose to your primary care physician. Any questions about over-the-counter medications, vitamin supplementation, or prescription medications can be answered by this type of doctor. Be careful not to take any of these medications without first consulting with your doctor.
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