Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Pain Management Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

On Anti-Inflammatories? You Don't Have to Endure Stomach Upset


WebMD Health News

Sept. 27, 2000 -- Many people taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief -- whether they be prescription medications or over-the-counter products like Motrin or Advil -- suffer in silence with the stomach problems they can bring, experts say.

But doctors have a message for these patients: One type of pain doesn't have to lead to another.

The fact that a study of 440 such patients found that nearly a third had had some sort of gastrointestinal upset didn't surprise researcher Christopher V. Chambers, MD. What was surprising is that they either tried to manage the symptoms on their own -- by cutting back on their medication, taking it with meals, or by taking over-the-counter stomach-acid and pain medications -- or simply endured the stomach problems. Chambers, who discussed his work at a recent American Academy of Family Physicians meeting in Dallas, is a clinical professor of family medicine at Jefferson Medical College, at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Only a few of these patients either used prescription medicines, called or visited their doctors, or went to an emergency room, Chambers says

This may seem admirable, but it's not wise, says Mark D. Richter, MD, a senior staff physician in the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Richter, who was not part of Chambers' study, says that he tells patients for whom he prescribes NSAIDs for severe pain that there are three side effects they should know about: heartburn, a burning pain in the stomach, and, sometimes, diarrhea.

It is important for patients to report these symptoms to their doctors, Chambers and Richter say. Also, they say, since non-prescription doses of NSAIDs are readily available, patients who take them on their own and experience these symptoms should also tell their physicians.

And with good reason.

"That constant irritation of the esophagus can lead to more serious ... changes down the road," Chambers says. "Conditions such as Barrett's esophagus, an irritation of the lining of the esophagus, may lead to cancers in people who have heartburn all the time."

People shouldn't try to address their stomach problems on their own, Richter tells WebMD, because it's often better to get a prescription drug that will prevent the irritation and better protect the gastrointestinal system while avoiding later complications.

Today on WebMD

pain in brain and nerves
Top causes and how to find relief.
knee exercise
8 exercises for less knee pain.
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
 
illustration of nerves in hand
Slideshow
lumbar spine
Slideshow
 
Woman opening window
Slideshow
Man holding handful of pills
Video
 
Woman shopping for vegetables
Slideshow
Sore feet with high heel shoes
Slideshow
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
man with a migraine
Slideshow