Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are helpful for reducing pain and inflammation but, like any medication, they may cause side effects.1
With NSAIDs, the amount you take and the length of time you take them increase the risk of side effects.2 So it’s very important that you fully understand what you’re taking, be as educated as possible about NSAIDs, and communicate with your health care provider and pharmacist as much as possible. This will help you reduce your pain without needing to fear pain medications.
Safe and Appropriate Use of NSAIDs
How can you take an NSAID to minimize the risk of side effects while maximizing the benefits?
- The US Food and Drug Administration and the medical community strongly recommend that when taking NSAIDs, you should take the lowest amount that works for you for the shortest time required for relief
- Learn more about the medications you are taking. Before taking any NSAID, it is important to:
- Read the label
- Make sure you know what you are taking
- Understand how you are supposed to take it
- Know the possible side effects
- Take charge of your own health—always ask your health care provider or pharmacist about potential side effects of any medication you are taking, including NSAIDs
- Potential side effects should not stop you from taking NSAIDs to reduce pain in order to help improve your daily life
- Not treating your pain can be just as serious as the side effects from an NSAID
- Wilcox CM, Cryer B, Triadafilopoulos G. Patterns of use and public perception of over-the-counter pain relievers: focus on nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. J Rheumatol. 2005;32(11):2218-2224.
- Bijlsma JW, Boers M, Saag KG, Furst DE. Glucocorticoids in the treatment of early and late RA. Ann Rheum Dis. 2003;62(11):1033-1037.