Nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs are used worldwide for pain, fever and inflammation. There are more than 20 varieties and they can be found both over the counter as well as by prescription. Different forms of NSAIDS can work differently in different patients. Dose duration and frequency of dose are both contributing factors.
The best way to decide which medication works best is to try more than one. A study was performed with 2 different forms of NSAIDS that provided the same medication for a group of patients for 2 weeks and then switched the medication for another 2 weeks. Blood serum levels were drawn and the biochemical make and effect was studied. There was no pattern of effect associated with the concentration of either medication in the blood. The most important factor seemed to be the chemical make-up of the drug and the mechanism of action.
The fact that people will be more likely to take a medication as prescribed if they are required to take it fewer times in a day is well known medical knowledge. When a medication is taken as recommended and doses are not skipped the medication will be more effective. Some NSAIDS such as Naproxen Sodium also known as Aleve only should be taken every 12 hours. Others such as Ibuprofen also known as Motrin require every 6-8-hour dosing and the amount can range from 400-800mg. Missing a dose of a medication because it should be taken more frequently can decrease the pain/inflammatory effect of the medication and may make it appear that it is not working for you.
Are you at risk for an adverse effect?
If you have an increased risk for gastrointestinal adverse reaction such as upset stomach or ulcers, a risk for cardiovascular adverse reaction or kidney reaction then you can be at increased risk for an adverse effect of NSAIDS. They can interact with numerous drugs such as blood thinners, blood pressure medications that are classified as ace inhibitors as well as steroid medications. The combination of NSAIDS and these types of medications can put you at risk for bleeding, ulcers, and kidney failure.
Is it worth the risk?
NSAIDS can be a great option for people who have ongoing pain due to conditions such as arthritis. They are also a great option to help people heal more quickly after an injury such as an ankle sprain. They are not a controlled substance so they do not interfere with driving or decision making. You should however follow label or prescription instructions, not miss a dose and seek help if your condition has not improved. You should also avoid this type of medication if you have had an ulcer or bleeding in your stomach or intestines, if you have heart disease have had a stroke or on blood thinners and if you have kidney or heart failure.
If you are in constant pain and are not sure if this medication is right for you, we can do a pain assessment and help you get to the root cause of your pain. We offer pain management programs that include other methods of pain control that do not include taking pain medications.