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Using NSAIDS for Arthritis: The Precautions

What are Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)? 

It is a type of medicine used to relieve pain and inflammation. They are commonly used for many ailments.

Are all NSAIDs same?

Yes and No. The chemical pathway of which it interacts with is the same however they work in different ways.

Are NSAIDS safe?

Yes and No.

If you have a certain medical conditions such as hypertension, kidney or stomach problem, one should avoid the use of NSAIDS or use them judiciously with doctor’s order.

Most often, doctors prescribe drugs that are gastrointestinal protective together with NSAIDS as they can damage the stomach and the intestine.

What are the side effects of NSAIDS?

In most cases, NSAIDS are harmless however, there are noted side effects such as:

  • Stomach ulcers and bleeding – Prolonged usage of NSAIDS can cause gastric mucosal erosion leading to ulcers and bleeding which may present as tarry black stools.
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Tinnitus
  • Allergy

What if I take more than the recommended dose?

It is best to adhere to the recommended dosage prescribed by the doctor. If one overdoses themselves, one would experience the aforementioned side effects. Some NSAIDS can be very harmful and even cause death.

Are there any special precautions when taking NSAIDS?

Listed below are list of patients who should avoid taking NSAIDS unless clearly indicated:

  • Peptic Ulcer Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Stroke
  • Patient’s on Diuretics
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Pregnant


NSAIDs are drugs that are easily available over the counter. There are over 20 different types of NSAIDs available and patients should be made aware of the indication, contraindication and the side effects of the drugs they are taking. Ensure you have asked your doctor or pharmacist all the necessary questions before taking them.


1. Patient education: Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) [Internet]. 2017 [cited 22 July 2017]. Available from:

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About The Author
Dr. Devalagan Muthalagan holds an MBBS from IMU. Currently, he is serving as a House Officer at Hospital Taiping.

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