Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
What To Think About
Do not use a nonprescription NSAID for longer than 10 days without talking to your doctor.
NSAIDs are strong medicines. The actions they take in your body to help one condition can cause problems in other ways. NSAIDs may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, skin reactions, and serious stomach and intestinal bleeding.
- These risks are greater if you take NSAIDs at higher doses or for longer periods than recommended.
- People who are older than 65 or who have existing heart, stomach, kidney, liver, or intestinal disease are more likely to have problems.
Do not take NSAIDs if you have had an Reference allergic reaction Opens New Window to this type of medicine in the past. If you have been told to avoid a medicine, talk to your doctor before you take it.
Talk to your doctor before taking NSAIDs if you have:
- Allergies to aspirin or other pain relievers.
- Ulcers or a history of bleeding in your stomach or intestines.
- Stomach pain, upset stomach, or heartburn that lasts or comes back.
- Reference Anemia Opens New Window.
- Bleeding or easy bruising.
- A habit of drinking more than 3 alcohol drinks a day. This increases your risk of stomach bleeding.
- High blood pressure.
- Kidney, liver, or heart disease.
Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take. Talk to your doctor before using NSAIDs if you take:
- Blood thinners, such as warfarin (for example, Coumadin), heparin, or aspirin.
- Medicine to treat mental health problems.
- Medicine to decrease swelling (water pills).
- Medicine for arthritis or Reference diabetes Opens New Window.
If you take NSAIDs regularly, your doctor may recommend that you also take a medicine such as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). These medicines can help protect the stomach lining.Reference 5
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Reference Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: May 14, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics