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?
- Aspirin (Bufferin, Bayer)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren)
- Diflunisal (Dolobid)
- Etodolac (Lodine)
- Fenoprofen (Nalfon)
- Flurbiprofen (Ansaid)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Indomethacin (Indocin)
- Ketoprofen (Oruvail, Orudis)
- Ketorolac (Toradol)
- Meloxicam (Mobic)
- Nabumetone (Relafen)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- Oxaprozin (Daypro)
- Piroxicam (Feldene)
- Salsalate (Amigesic)
- Sulindac (Clinoril)
- Tolmetin (Tolectin)
Prevacid Naprapac combines naproxen with the acid blocker Prevacid to lower your chances of getting stomach ulcers.
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:
- Stomach problems, including pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, nausea, and stomach ulcers
- Kidney problems
- Swelling in the legs
- Abnormal liver tests (blood tests)
- Easy bruising
- Ringing in the ears
Most people take these meds with few to no side effects, though.
Is There a Serious Risk of Stomach Ulcers?
The chance of getting an ulcer or stomach bleeding rises even more if you also take corticosteroids (often called "steroids") for RA or blood thinners, or anticoagulants. Also, the longer you use NSAIDs, the greater the risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers.
Older adults, especially those who are over age 65, are more likely to get stomach bleeding and ulcers, as do those who drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.
If you take NSAIDs to ease the inflammation, pain, and stiffness of RA, talk with your doctor about ways to protect your stomach. If you’re at high risk for stomach bleeding, you may need a strong stomach acid blocker to help prevent ulcers.
Can I Take NSAIDs if I Have High Blood Pressure?
Your doctor will check on that. NSAIDs can reduce blood flow to the kidneys, which may cause these organs not to work as well. This makes fluid build up in your body, which can raise your blood pressure.
So, if you take these meds, you will probably get a blood test from time to time to check how well your kidneys work.
Can I Be Allergic to NSAIDs?
They can cause allergies. Some people with asthma are sensitive to some NSAIDs. The drugs may worsen breathing, and many specialists recommend that people who have asthma not take certain NSAIDs. The risk may be greater in people with sinus problems or nasal polyps.
If you have asthma, make sure your arthritis doctor knows. Some NSAIDs may be safer for you.