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What Are NSAIDs for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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NSAIDs -- or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- are commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. They help manage the chronic pain, inflammation, and swelling tied to RA.

They do not slow down the disease. Most people with RA also take other types of medications, such as methotrexate or biologics, to help prevent further joint damage.

How Do NSAIDs Work?

They block your body’s “Cox” enzymes. This cuts down on inflammation and reduces pain and stiffness.

What Are Some NSAIDs Used for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

These include:

Arthrotec is an NSAID that combines diclofenac with another active ingredient, misoprostol, to help prevent stomach irritation.

Prevacid Naprapac combines naproxen with the acid blocker Prevacid to lower your chances of getting stomach ulcers.

Vimovo is a combination of naproxen and the acid blocker Nexium.

Do All NSAIDs Raise the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke?

All prescription NSAIDs are linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. They carry a warning about that.

While the actual risk of a heart attack and stroke with NSAIDs is unknown, medical studies are in progress to help find that answer. The risk is likely greatest for people who have heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.

You and your doctor can weigh the risks and benefits.

What Are the Side Effects?

The most common ones include:

NSAIDs may also raise blood pressure. If you have high BP, keep a close eye on your blood pressure. Let your doctor know if it goes up.

Most people take these meds with few to no side effects, though.

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