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Like any medication, NSAIDs may cause side effects.1 Some of these side effects can lead to serious consequences.1,2 However, you can minimize the risks of NSAIDs by taking them as directed—at the lowest amount that works for you for the shortest time required for relief.3
It is important when taking any NSAID that you take the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time required for relief. You should also learn more about the medications you are taking. For example, be sure to read the label, making sure you know what you are taking, how to take it, and any possible side effects.
Finally, take charge of your own health—always ask your health care provider about potential side effects of any medication you are taking, including NSAIDs.
The Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs is a public health coalition dedicated to the safe and appropriate use of NSAIDs.
Information for You About NSAIDs
Advice for you and your family about taking NSAIDs for pain and/or inflammation
Information About NSAIDs for Health Care Providers
Information about safe and appropriate use of NSAIDs and how to educate your patients about taking NSAIDs to maximize benefits and minimize risks
An easy reference to help educate your patients about the safe and appropriate use of NSAIDs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a type of commonly taken medicine. You would take NSAIDs to relieve pain or to reduce fever or inflammation. Inflammation is when a part of your body is swollen, red, hot, hurting, and/or difficult to move.
There are various NSAIDs you can get as a prescription from your health care provider. Some are also available “over the counter” or OTC, which means that you do not need a prescription to take them.
While you may not know the word NSAID, you probably know some OTC NSAIDs better by their generic and brand names such as:
- Ibuprofen, which is sold OTC under the brand names Motrin® and Advil®
Naproxen Sodium (sometimes called Naproxen) which is sold OTC under the brand name Aleve®
- Aspirin is also an NSAID
There are also other medications which may contain an NSAID.
The recommended amount of an NSAID is the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time required for symptom relief. Some people, such as those with chronic (long-term) pain, may need to take NSAIDs for a longer period of time. Always ask your HCP or pharmacist about how much medication you should be taking for your specific condition.
NSAIDs are helpful for reducing pain and inflammation but, like any medication, they may cause side effects.1Even commonly taken prescription and nonprescription medicines can have side effects. NSAIDs may affect your kidneys, heart, or digestive system (stomach, small intestines, colon, etc) and can lead to serious consequences.1,2 Remember to always ask your HCP about the possible side effects of any medication you are taking, including both OTC products and prescriptions.
Many people take NSAIDs incorrectly because they do not talk to their HCP or their pharmacist about what they are taking. Before taking any medication, read and follow the label. If you take any OTC or herbal medications regularly, make sure you tell your HCP. You may find it helpful to take a written list of all your medications with you to your appointment.
Since most NSAIDs are only referred to by the brand or generic name, people may not be aware that they are taking an NSAID or may accidentally take more than one NSAID at a time.1 There are also medicines that combine an NSAID with a different type of pain medication. If you take another OTC or prescription NSAID at the same time, you may increase the chances of side effects. Read and follow the label and ask your HCP or pharmacist if you have any questions.
A counseling sheet educating patients on NSAIDs and important steps to follow when taking them.
Información para usted sobre los NSAID
Consejos para usted y su familia sobre el uso de NSAID para tratar dolores o inflamaciones
Información sobre los NSAID para proveedores de atención médica
Información sobre el uso seguro y apropiado de los NSAID y cómo educar a los pacientes sobre su uso a fin de maximizar sus beneficios y minimizar los riesgos
Una referencia rápida para ayudar a educar a sus pacientes sobre el uso seguro y apropiado de los NSAID
Una hoja de asesoramiento para educar a los pacientes sobre los NSAID y las medidas importantes que deben tomar cuando los usen.