Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a large family of medicines that work in a similar way to aspirin by relieving both pain and swelling. This class includes drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and celecoxib. Some are available without a prescription.

They have advantages and disadvantages. They relieve mild-to-moderate pain, fever, headaches and swelling. But they can cause stomach upset or bleeding in the stomach. They also can cause kidney or liver damage if taken at high doses or for a long time. NSAIDs may cause adverse reactions in people with asthma. They can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke (an exception is low-dose aspirin, which reduces the risk of heart attack in certain people who are at high risk for heart disease).

These drugs can provide powerful pain relief, but because they do come with these potential side effects, it’s important to talk with your doctor about which medications are best to manage your pain. Your doctor will want to know how long you are taking the medication, and in what amounts.

— Source: American College of Physicians


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