Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)NSAIDs represent a large class of medications that are useful against both pain and inflammation. These medicines are staples in arthritis treatment. NSAIDs are thought to work by blocking the action of certain hormones, called prostaglandins, that cause inflammation and pain in the body.
Many NSAIDs can be used for the treatment of arthritis. Some are available over-the-counter (for example, aspirin, Advil®, Motrin®, Aleve®, and ketoprofen). Others require a prescription.
Some examples of NSAIDs that can be used to treat arthritis include:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
- Naproxen (Naprosyn®) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox®, Naprelan®)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex®)
- Indomethacin (Indocin®)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren®, Cataflam®)
- Etodolac (Lodine®, Lodine® XL)
- Meloxicam (Mobic®)
- Nabumetone (Relafen®).
Some of the most common side effects of NSAIDs include:
- Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
- An unexplained rash.
There are also less common, but serious, side effects, such as a heart attack or stroke, congestive heart failure, or an allergic reaction.
(Click NSAIDs Side Effects for more information, including serious side effects to look out for.)
There are also certain groups of people who may be at a higher risk of side effects while taking NSAIDs (such as those with heart disease or stomach ulcers). These people should take NSAIDs with caution or not at all.
(Click NSAIDs Warnings and Precautions for more information, including a list of people who should not take these drugs.)