What are NSAIDS?

NSAIDS are some of the most common pain relief drugs in the world. Some 30 million Americans use them on a daily basis.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are normally used for less severe types of pain. They are a broad category of drugs with different chemical structures but all with the same results – reducing fever, inflammation and pain. They work by slowing down the creation of prostaglandins in the body, which play a key role in causing inflammation. Reducing the amount of prostaglandins also reduces the amount of inflammation.

Pharmacists should be aware of the precautions when taking NSAIDS.

They do not interact with alcohol

However, patients should not drink a lot of alcohol while taking NSAIDS because this could cause stomach irritation and even cause bleeding in the stomach.

Other drug interactions

Taking more than one type of NSAID at the same time can have adverse effects. People should not take anti-clotting drugs, such as warfarin or aspirin, while taking NSAIDS because of their anti-clotting properties. Pharmacists need to emphasize to patients they need to follow the instructions for the type of NSAID they are taking because each is different.

Who should avoid NSAIDS

People under 16 or over 65 may need to avoid NSAIDS. Also, people with asthma may need to avoid these drugs because they may make the condition worse. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take these drugs, as well as anyone who has heart disease.

Side effects

The side effects from NSAIDS are generally mild, and include things like indigestion, headaches, dizziness and drowsiness. They can, however, increase blood pressure. NSAIDS reduce the blood flow to the kidneys, which compromises their function, in turn causing a fluid buildup in the bloodstream leading to higher blood pressure.

Long-term use

Taking NSAIDS for long periods of time, or at high doses, can possibly lead to the formation of peptic ulcers. This happens because NSAIDS reduce the production of prostaglandins, which also trigger the lining of the stomach to produce mucus as a protection.

As prostaglandins decline, so does the amount of mucus, giving the stomach lining less protection against the acids, and causing ulcers.

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