Non Steroidal Drugs; NSAIDs

Non steroidal drugs, or "NSAIDs", exert their action by circulating throughout the body by way of the bloodstream, and battling pain and inflammation at its source. This is a very effective means of treating joint pain, as well as other types, because the medication actually arrives at the site(s) of inflammation and “does its thing” where it matters most.

Unlike narcotic and non-narcotic pain relievers, as you will learn more about as we go, non steroidal drugs work “locally” as well as “systemically” in the body; wherever there are areas of inflammation that need treating.

Some examples of earlier generation NSAIDs include Motrin (ibuprofen), Relafen, Voltaren, Lodine, Arthrotec and Naprosyn (naproxen)to name just a few.

watch out for stomach problems Many different types of NSAIDs have been created over the years, with each having their own "special" way of reducing inflammation. Regardless of the differences between brands, the ultimate goal is the same; to reduce inflammation, which reduces pain.

Now, these drugs don't come without some risk and potential side-effects. Because some of these joint pain remedies are of an aspirin derivative, those with aspirin allergies cannot take them. Additionally, these drugs over time, can have irritating effects to the lining of the stomach, even to the point of causing bleeding or gastric ulcers. Therefore, care should be taken when using these drugs and probably shouldn't be taken on an empty stomach.

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In response to these potentially harmful effects newer, safer drugs have been created. They are called "COX-2 inhibitors". Instead of going into the pharmacology of how the drugs are made and what they're made of, suffice it to say these drugs were created in such a way as to offer increased protection to the stomach lining, by "inhibiting" the mechanisms that deplete the lining of its protective mucous covering.

Yet, with all their improvements, these, too, aren't without risk of harmful effects.

People with heart conditions, high blood pressure and kidney ailments should not take these drugs without close supervision of their medical doctor. Those with a "sulfonamide" allergy should seek medical advice before taking these medications.

Examples of these newer drugs include Celebrate, Bextra, and Mobic.

Important update (8/11/2011) : Bextra, like Vioxx, is no longer on the market because of concerns of increased risk for strokes and heart attacks.

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