Indications and Procedures (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) relieve painful conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, gout, menstrual cramps, tendinitis, sprains, and strains. While some drugs are sold only with a doctor’s prescription, other drugs are sold over the counter. Some common NSAIDs, with the brand name in parentheses, are diclofenac (Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), flurbiprofen (Ansaid), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Rufen, Nuprin), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Naprosyn or Aleve), and oxaprozin (Daypro). These drugs are sold as capsules, caplets, tablets, liquids, and suppositories.
Corticosteroids make up the second group of anti-inflammatory drugs that relieve inflammation and allergic reactions (and the itching, swelling, and redness that are associated with them, as well as with various skin conditions). They are similar to the natural hormone cortisone used in the treatment of arthritis. Corticosteroids are available in numerous forms, including inhalants, creams and ointments, and oral (systemic) medications. Common corticosteroids are beclomethasone (Beconase, Vancensase, Vanceril), betamethosone (Diprolene, Lotrisone), hydrocortisone, mometasone (Elocon), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), and triamcinolone (Azmacort, Nasacort).
Aspirins and NSAIDs are commonly used in the treatment of arthritis. Because high doses of aspirins are required to control joint inflammation, NSAIDs are effective for arthritis...
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Uses and Complications (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
NSAIDs can cause some serious side effects, especially if they are taken for a long period of time or in large doses or if several NSAIDs are taken together. Older persons who take NSAIDs are likely to develop stomach problems. NSAIDs can also increase the possibility of bleeding after surgery or sensitivity to sunlight. The following persons should consult their physicians before taking NSAIDs: individuals who are taking other medications, women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant, women who are breast-feeding, and individuals with stomach or intestinal problems, liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, bleeding difficulties, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or epilepsy.
For most individuals who are prescribed these drugs, however, common side effects are mild and may include stomach pain or cramps, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, headache, and dizziness. It is also important to note that research has been used to identify new anti-inflammatory painkillers that produce fewer of these kinds of effects. One recent example is licofelone, an NSAID that is reported to be gentler on the stomach. Licofelone is classified as a COX/LOX inhibitor, where COX refers to the substance cyclooxygenase and LOX refers to the substance lipoxygenase.
For most individuals using these substances, serious side effects are rare. For some, however, they can be life-threatening. In fact, research has shown that some...
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Perspective and Prospects (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
The bark of the willow tree, which contains salicylates, was known in eighteenth century England to reduce fever and aches, and in 1876 the first successful treatment of acute arthritis with sodium salicylate (aspirin) was reported. In the 1970’s, John Vane amassed evidence of the effectiveness of NSAIDs.
The earliest demonstration of the importance of corticosteroids as anti-inflammatory agents occurred in the 1940’s in regard to rheumatoid arthritis. The challenge of corticosteroid therapy lies in achieving the desired results with a minimum of side effects.
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For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
American Medical Association. American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2004.
Liska, Ken. Drugs and the Human Body, with Implications for Society. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2009.
Subak-Sharpe, Genell J., and Thomas O. Morris, eds. “Drug Therapy.” In The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Complete Home Medical Guide. 3d ed. New York: Crown, 1995.
Wood, Paul L. Neuroinflammation: Mechanisms and Management. 2d ed. Totowa, N.J.: Humana Press, 2003.
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