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Using NSAIDs for Pain Control

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medications that can reduce mild-to-moderate pain, swelling, and fever. There are many medications in this class. Some are available over-the-counter, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, but most are available by prescription only. NSAIDs generally don't make you drowsy, and they are not addictive. Different NSAIDs are recommended for different conditions.
 
Which NSAID may be appropriate for you also depends on your risk for some of the side effects of NSAIDs, such as gastrointestinal irritation or bleeding, or worsening of kidney disease. Some NSAIDs were found to increase the risk for cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or strokes. Vioxx® and Bextra® were taken off the U.S. market, and Celebrex® is used sparingly due to this risk.
 
Other NSAIDs are also likely to increase the risk of cardiovascular events, though this may vary depending on the drug. Those with previous cardiovascular disease or who are at high risk for heart disease or stroke may be at a higher risk if taking NSAIDs. The benefits and risks of NSAID treatment should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
 
If you have had a serious allergic reaction to aspirin or any of the other NSAIDs, you should not take these drugs unless under the care and supervision of a healthcare professional. The symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include:
 
  • A rash
  • Swelling of the throat, mouth, or face
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing.
 
Alternative Therapies for Pain Management
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