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Everyday Pain Relief: Ulcers

Many familiar over-the-counter pain relief drugs can cause harmful side effects for those with ulcers. Here's what you need to know.

The Pros and Cons of Pain Relief Drugs continued...

KETOPROFEN
Actron, Orudis KT

  • How it works. Ketoprofen blocks the effects of chemicals that increase the feeling of pain.
  • Benefits. Ketoprofen can lower fevers, ease pain, and reduce inflammation.
  • Side effects and risks. People with ulcers should not use ketoprofen unless their health care providers say it's safe. Ketoprofen can cause or aggravate ulcers. It also causes other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as heartburn, upset stomach, or pain.

    Drinking alcohol while using ketoprofen increases the risk of GI problems. Ketoprofen my also increase the risks of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA now requires that drug companies highlight these risks.

    The use of this drug along with other NSAIDs in pregnant women has been linked to birth defects. In some cases, ketoprofen can slow down the body's natural healing process.

NAPROXEN SODIUM
Aleve

  • How it works. Naproxen sodium blocks the effects of chemicals that increase the feeling of pain.
  • Benefits. Naproxen sodium can lower fevers, ease pain, and reduce inflammation.
  • Side effects and risks. People with ulcers should not use naproxen sodium unless their health care providers say it's safe. Naproxen sodium can cause or aggravate ulcers. It also causes other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as heartburn, upset stomach, or pain.

    Drinking alcohol while using naproxen sodium increases the risk of GI problems. Naproxen sodium may also increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA now requires that drug companies highlight these risks.

    The use of this drug along with other NSAIDs in pregnant women has been linked to birth defects. In some cases, naproxen sodium can slow down the body's natural healing process.

PRESCRIPTION PAINKILLERS

Many painkillers -- including higher doses of NSAIDs -- are available by prescription. Since they are more powerful versions of over-the-counter NSAIDs, they often have the same or greater risks. Some examples are Daypro, Indocin, Lodine, Naprosyn, Relafen, and Voltaren.

Cox-2 inhibitors are a newer kind of NSAID. These medicines have recently come under fire for their dangers. Although these drugs are supposed to have fewer gastrointestinal side effects than standard NSAIDs, they can still cause some of the same problems. They may also raise the risks of heart attack and stroke.

Two of these drugs, Vioxx and Bextra, have been taken off the market because of various side effects. Celebrex is still available.

Narcotics are another type of prescription painkiller. Examples include OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. These drugs are reserved for people with severe pain. They generally pose less of a risk for people with ulcers. They do have other side effects, including constipation, fatigue, and a risk of addiction.

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