Learning More About NSAIDs
When and How Do I Take Them?Some general considerations for when and how to take NSAIDs include the following:
- For NSAIDs to work properly, you have to take them as prescribed. They will not work if you stop taking them.
- It is important to take the lowest effective dose for the least amount of time in order to treat your condition. This will decrease the chances of serious side effects occurring.
- If using over-the-counter NSAID products (such as Motrin® or Aleve®), you should follow the instructions on the label. Do not exceed the recommended dosage and do not take them for more than ten days for pain relief, or three days for fever, unless your healthcare provider recommends otherwise.
Dosing InformationThe dosage of NSAIDs your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- The specific type of NSAID
- The medical condition you are being treated for
- Other medical conditions you may have
- Other medications you may be taking.
As always, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with NSAIDs. Yet, not everyone who takes them will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate the medications well. If people do develop side effects, in many cases, they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
The most common side effects include:
- Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
- An unexplained rash.
Less common but potentially serious side effects include:
- Cardiovascular problems, including a heart attack or stroke
- Stomach or intestinal problems, including bleeding, ulcers, or a hole (known as a perforation)
- Liver damage
- Kidney problems, including kidney failure
- Rapid weight gain (see NSAIDs and Weight Gain)
- Congestive heart failure
- Allergic reactions.
Any medication that is part of the NSAIDs class of drugs can cause these serious side effects, which can lead to life-threatening complications or even loss of life.
(Click NSAIDs Side Effects to learn more, including other serious side effects to report to your healthcare provider.)